Ok, I’ll start with the bad news: tax time is around the corner. The good news is that 2013 is your year to get organized!
When it comes to preparing a tax return, the more organized you are the less it will cost you in time and money. Why waste your two most crucial assets this time of year?
Any accountant will tell you they can’t do their best work from a messy shoebox of statements and receipts.
Whether you’re doing your own filing or hiring a tax professional, several important tools will make all the difference in organizing your taxes and filing a successful return:
- Colored file folders: Office supplies can help you visually differentiate your papers and documents. Being able to quickly and easily separate your information into categories is the most important aspect of your tax organization. I recommend using a set of colored folders, a convenient solution that offers easy access to contents. For example: yellow = charitable contributions; red = medical statements and receipts; blue = highlighted bank statements. You can find a good variety of colored folders over at our brand partner, At-A-Glance.
- Sticky notes: Organizing your tax papers is like un-knotting an endlessly tangled cord – you solve one mess but create another. Keep yourself moving forward by attaching sticking note reminders which explain each document’s significance. You can label them with categories, expense totals, or notes to your tax professional. Try it with our Self Stick Hot Lists!
- Binder clips: I can’t stress enough the value of having a supply of binder clips. Once you’ve separated documents into categories, you can sort your related documents into piles and clip all relevant paperwork together. Binder clips are the most practical tool for doing this as well as other tax organization duties. I keep my home office stocked with binder clips in various sizes – they have countless uses in-office and out.
- Mini accordion files: Envelope or coupon sized accordion files work great for storing your receipts – sorted in alphabetical order or by category. A key tip: when recording receipts, make sure you put a unique check mark at the top of the document to indicate you’ve already listed that one. It keeps you from having to start all over if you lose your place. Check out Pocket Files from At-A-Glance.
- Personal Planner (notebook, calendar, or organizer): Stay on schedule by keeping your tax time appointments and responsibilities listed in one reliable location. Start with a big circle around April 15, tax day. A great solution is our Western Coach planner because you get a complete planning set – calendar, notes, task list – a great value for tax planning and all year round.
Additional tip: Store all your tax-time supplies in a bin labeled “Tax Tools,” and throw in some stamps, pens, markers, tape, paper clips, and a stapler. Just close it up and get it out next year.
Also: Remember your tax return filing expenses and fees are deductible, so save all of your receipts for these purchases.
Start today: If not for the sake of reducing stress but for saving money too. Be sure to go online or meet with your tax professional and determine what current information and tax laws relates to your home and work situation.
Do you have any tips that help you organize your tax filing? Please share by commenting below.