When it comes to filing your taxes, it’s never quite as easy as it may seem. So far this month I have shared with you how to begin preparation for tax season as well as how to implement a year-long tax paperwork system. As the tax deadline looms closer, now it’s time to talk about how to make preparing this year’s taxes as easy as possible. Here are some simple tips from the Professional Organizer in NYC:
- Create a zone for organizing paperwork. When it comes to your personal taxes, begin by designating a spot in your home for all tax paperwork. This could be a binder, file folder, or accordion folder… whatever best addresses the volume of paper and fits within your paper management system. Use this spot for all tax information that has collected over the past couple of months. With an eye towards next year, plan to use this same system for gathering financial statements received throughout the year, paying special attention to the mail near tax season as that is when the W2’s start coming in. If you are also filing business taxes, it’s important to have a separate location and system for all of that paperwork. You can use files or a file box, as long as it is accessible so that you can easily keep paperwork pertaining to your income, expenses, receipts, invoices, and other relevant documents.
- Make sure you have the necessary tools ready to go. You may need items like file folders, small envelopes for storing tax-related receipts, labels, writing utensils, and any other tools that you personally will use. Also check out what tech tools you may be able to use to document expenses, to keep track of income, or even to convert items like receipts into electronic files. These could include Quickbooks, Neat Receipts, or even something like a simple spreadsheet.
- Keep a checklist of necessary documentation. Even after you have designated a space for all incoming tax documents and you have the tools you need ready to go, you can still forget pertinent pieces to your personal tax puzzle. Use a checklist similar to this one used by the Professional Organizer in NYC, but it’s important to customize it to your specific circumstances.
Whether you are doing your own taxes or hiring an accountant this year, these simple steps will put you ahead of the game and have you ready to file. By having a system in place, you’ll be able to minimize the time you spend searching for missing documents and maximize the number of deductions you may uncover. Here’s to a stress-free tax season!