The mere thought of tax season casts an anxious spell over many of us. What if you didn’t feel the intense pressure to find all of the paperwork you need? What if you had a paper management system in place throughout the year that made tax season a breeze? Sounds like a dream, right?
Well, it isn’t a dream, this can be done! Here are the Professional Organizer in NYC’s top four tips to help you create a year-long system for managing your tax paperwork that will help you avoid stress and save you time during tax season.
- Empty your pockets, handbag or briefcase at the end of each week and file the accumulated receipts. Use plastic envelopes for your small receipts and file folders or large envelopes for the larger ones. If the reason for the expense is not clear, be sure to note the reason for the expenditure on the receipts prior to filing them. This will ensure that all deductions can be easily taken at tax time. Bonus tip: Another approach is to scan each receipt and store them digitally. This saves space in your home office, and also enables you to quickly search through them if needed. Please check with your tax preparer before discarding the paper version.
- Make sure that you are utilizing your home filing system. Schedule time weekly or monthly to organize all important paperwork and file it chronologically within the appropriate folder. Your prior year’s tax returns should be archived in your home or office. This can be in a location that works for you, that is accessible, but isn’t taking space from your frequently needed action files. Bonus tip: Have a clearly labeled file for all W2’s, 1099’s, and any other tax documents that come through the mail.
- Print important financial documents regularly throughout the year. Designate some time monthly to print out banking and credit card statements and file them immediately. Bonus tip: Highlight tax related expenses before you file the statements. This will save you time during tax season as you won’t be searching through months of statements attempting to remember purchases you may have forgotten about!
- Utilize a checklist to keep together all of the important documents you need. Bonus tip: Include a section on your checklist to note any questions you may need to address with your tax preparer.
Many people find themselves stressed and anxious during tax season. They worry about making sure they have all the required documents for the filing process, and wonder if they have done everything to maximize their return. It’s important to create a system throughout the year to keep track of all of your tax documents so you don’t miss anything crucial when it’s time to file. A forgotten or missing document could be the difference between a refund and owing money. Take this advice from the professional organizer in NYC and create a system that can work for you all year long.