Does tax season stress you out?
Step 1: Designate a place for all your tax documents
Disorganized rooms, desks and filing drawers can be distracting and lead to lost documents and wasted time looking for them. (The shoe box method is inadequate and your accountant probably charges you extra to sort it out for you).
Step 2: Sort, file, save
For each potential tax record, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I need to keep this? Yes, if it is tax related or a business deduction.
- If I need to keep it, where would its home be? A Special folder or file box would do.
- Retention Guide: For the IRS description of what documents to keep and for how long go to:
Step 3: Categorize your records for tax purposes
- Be sure to keep records and a separate file for papers you‘ll need for your tax return. Don’t miss out on claiming expenses and deductions because you misplaced them or don’t have a copy of a key invoice.
- Sort your paid bills by subject, such as office expenses, home improvements, Health expenses, donations, credit cards, investments, etc. (See Schedules A and C for a more complete list of allowed deductions that apply to you).
Step 4: Assemble your records for this year's return
With your files in order, it’s much easier to gather what you need for your 2017 return - whether you are preparing the return yourself, or sending your documents to a tax preparer. Use the worksheet your preparer provides.
Step 5: Schedule time to stay organized for future tax seasons
The best way to get and stay organized is to schedule a regular time and day each month or one hour a week to sort through new documents and organize your record keeping. (Using prepared software such as Quicken or Quick-books makes it even easier once you have it set up properly).
Step 6: Hire a Professional Organizer:
A professional organizer can help you create a file system and help you keep it organized so that your tax records are ready to be filed.
So if you are still struggling with this year's tax, lets make sure your 2018 taxes are ready to file.
Sophie Bent is a Professional Organizer & Productivity Consultant @Bent On Organizing, LLC. She is a NAPO Specialist in Residential Organizing in South Florida and has been organizing businesses and homes since 2008. Contact her at 561-404-7181 or www.bentonorganizing.com