Most of us have already received our W-2s and are preparing to file between now and April 17th.  It is important to get organized for tax season to avoid scrambling for documents the night before tax deadline.  With tax time here it is now time to empty out that junk drawer filled with tax documents and get organized.  Keeping tax documents organized and stored in a safe place can reduce chances of identity theft.

Get Organized:

  • Prepare mentally

Mark the date of April 17th on your calendar, set it as a reminder in your phone and get ready to organize.  Make a list of all documents that you will need and make a note on where you can find it.  A spreadsheet would be a good way to track the organization of your documents and any charitable donations.  For charitable donations, do not forget you must have proof of your giving, save information such as date, gift amount and charity you gave to in case you need official documentation.

  • Designate space in your home for tax organization

Make a spot in your home to store all financial information, whether a home office or desk in your bedroom.  This information is to include W-2s, last year’s tax return, receipts, mortgage information and any other paperwork needed to file taxes.

  • Organize and label receipts

Consider purchasing an accordion folder and label each section with the tax year.  Place tax returns from previous years in corresponding folder and sort new tax forms in the compartment for current year.  If you run a business or charge expenses for work that are unreimbursed use a section for receipts, label them with reason for expense and save in folder.  You can also scan or take pictures of receipts and save to your computer for easier access.  Take time to review previous year’s tax returns to prepare for tax season and prepare for upcoming costs.

  • Shred documents you no longer need

Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return.  Purchase a shredder to securely dispose of tax documents that you no longer need.  The list of items that should be shredded is not limited to only tax documents.  Other items you should shred include bank statements, junk credit card offers and mail that shows your personal information.

These tips should make tax organization much simpler for you.

Do not forget to stop by any of our offices for your free tax estimate.  We can also answer any questions you may have regarding tax season.