Are You Organized for Tax Time?
You’ve probably been getting W-2’s, 1099’s, etc. from your 2016 income, which reminds you that tax time is looming. Even in our digital world, there are so many papers associated with taxes. So how do we keep track of them to make getting the taxes done easier and less stressful? Even if you have a tax professional do yours, you still have to provide the information, and the more you have ready, the less time it takes and the less you have to pay someone else to do.
How can you get it under control and put a few things in place to make it easier next year?
Having one place for the documents associated with each year will go a long way toward making it easy to find what you need when you need it. Multi-pocket accordion files typically with 8-12 pockets) allow for easier organizing, and are large enough not to get lost or overlooked. They also make it easy to transport everything to the accountant or to another room. Smead and Adams make Tax Organizers that are available through Amazon.com, or you may be able to find one (or a generic accordion file) at your local office supply store.
Keep separate files for Personal and Business items if you want to be on friendly terms with the IRS, and simplify your life.
Keep those files in one permanent place. Group papers into fewer categories, if needed, and label each tab depending on your needs:
- Previous year’s tax return (has its own file)
- Income items such as W-2’s and Social Security benefits
- Interest & dividends statements
- Sale of assets information
- Pension and/or Trust distributions
- Mortgage interest statements
- Property taxes
- Unemployment compensation
- and/or Business education expenses
- Charitable contributions
- Child care expenses
- IRA/SEP Contributions
- Medical, Dental, Vision expenses
As soon as you receive a tax-related paper, put it into the year’s file. You will greatly reduce stress and save time for things you enjoy by having your tax information together and ready to go.
Next time we’ll look at those pesky receipts that keep showing up year round!