Whether you prepare your own personal or business taxes or enlist a professional, following these recommendations from a professional organizer in NYC to organize your tax paperwork ahead of time can make the process more efficient and perhaps even save you some money. Organizing your tax paperwork in advance makes the tax preparation process go faster for your accountant and it can help keep you from missing money-saving deductions if you’re filing for yourself.
Start by establishing one location to organize throughout the year the paperwork you’ll need at tax time. As any NYC Professional Organizer would suggest, the type of tools used to manage the paperwork depends on how complex your tax preparation process is. For personal taxes, a simple two-pocket folder may be sufficient, with income documentation filed on one side and deductions and expenses on the other.
Organizing tax paperwork for your business can be a more complex, with more income sources, expenses, receipts and other papers to keep track of. A set of file folders or a binder with pockets can be labeled for each category. You may want to consider a portable file box, which can make it easy to transport all of your documentation to your accountant.
Keeping track of expenses and receipts is key to maximizing your deductions come tax time. Tools such as Quicken, QuickBooks and the NeatReceipts receipt scanner can help with organizing your tax paperwork and financial records into electronic files that are easy to store and sort as needed.
Before you begin to prepare your taxes (or turn everything over to your tax preparer), use a checklist to ensure that you have everything you need. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Social Security Number and business Tax ID Number
- W-2s, 1099s, 1098s and related documents
- Brokerage statements
- Records of other taxes paid throughout the year
- Documentation of interest paid on mortgage and student loans
- Charitable donation receipts
- Documentation of retirement account contributions
- Childcare and education cost documentation
- Receipts for medical costs
- Other paperwork for tax-related income and expenses
Professional organizers in NYC and across the country recommend utilizing simple systems year-round to organize your tax paperwork as it can make filing your returns a snap each Spring!