Here we are again – tax season is upon us! You may be feeling rushed or anxious as you try to gather all the necessary documents for your tax preparation appointment. As a Professional Organizer in NYC who helps clients organize paperwork, I see this problem every year. Instead of having a plan in place to keep tax paperwork organized throughout the year, most people wait until it’s time to file their taxes before they begin to gather everything they need. Not only is this approach overwhelming, but you can also miss important documents that could result in penalties if not filed appropriately.
Here’s this Professional Organizer in NYC’s top four tips to help you create a year-long system for managing your tax paperwork.
1. Create a filing process for tax documents. Create a specific file folder(s) for the year and include all tax paperwork and reports that you’ll need as you accumulate them. Schedule time monthly to sort through your paperwork and file it chronologically. Make sure that your folder (or folders, if needed) are clearly labeled. Misplacing tax documents will cause quite the headache later on!
2. Make a list. Create (and update as needed) a checklist of tax documents that you’ll need in order to file. Store the master copy on your computer and each year’s copy in your file for that year’s taxes updating it accordingly. This might include adding new jobs or clients, as you will expect tax documents for each one. Include on your list the basics – expense reports, tax ID numbers, proof of health insurance, and more. Check out this list and amend it so that it works for you!
3. Create a system for collecting receipts. Don’t let receipts get lost in the depths of your desk drawers, briefcase, or handbag. Instead, file them away as they are accumulated so you don’t misplace anything of importance! Designate a folder(s), plastic envelope or accordion file to collect receipts. Add any notes to the receipt before storing it away. This is important if the reason for the receipt isn’t clear. You can also scan your receipts and store them digitally. This saves space in your office, but also allows you to search quickly if you need to.
4. Print important documents. Designate time monthly to print out banking and credit card statements and file them away immediately. If you are sent any tax documents or expense reports from clients, print those out now instead of waiting until the end of the year and having to frantically search for everything.
By keeping track of your tax documents throughout the year and organizing them in a clear fashion, you’ll save yourself time when tax season rolls around as you’ll already have your important documents organized and ready to go. If you need more help organizing paperwork in your office, this Professional Organizer in NYC is here to help.