Tax Prep System
Tax Prep Time!
Preparing your taxes can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t kept track of your tax-related documents throughout the year. Not only do you need to keep track of tax forms you get in the mail (or on-line), but also receipts for tax-related expenses and donations. Providing your tax information to your accountant in an organized manner can save you money in tax preparation costs.
If you need an attack- method for getting organized and prepared for tax season, follow these six simple steps.
1. Collect and Corral: Create a file with a folder designated as taxes and when the paperwork comes in toss it in there. Also, create a folder on your computer to save electronic documents. Once you have collected it all (usually by Feb. 28), sort it into categories and paperclip each category together. You may want to print the electronic documents, or have them organized and ready to enter into your tax return..
2. Contain It: Have a bin, file box, labeled taxes to store your past 6 years tax-returns. After the six years have passed, you can shred the old taxes and keep only current 6 years. Make sure to keep all of the necessary receipts in each years folder.
3. Go Paperless: Yes, the IRS does accept electronic documentation. Scanning papers or electing to receive electronic statements will help significantly reduce your paper clutter and make it easier for you organize and find the documents you need.
4. Use Electonic System: I strongly recommend that you maintain an electronic accounting system, such as Quicken/QuickBooks or even an Excel spreadsheet. There are other programs you can use as well, such as Freshbooks or ZohoBooks. If you maintain these programs throughout the year, come tax time, all the information you need will be at your fingertips.
5. Plan Ahead: Create a folder for next year’s taxes. As documents come in throughout the year, you’ll have a place to put them. More importantly, you’ll be able to find them when tax time comes around again.
6. Start Fresh: Once you have collected all of your tax documents, do a purge of all your files (paper and electronic), so your space is clear for the coming year.
Here is a checklist to help you ensure you’ve got everything covered before you sit down to file with a tax professional or with an at-home tax-prepare software.
You will have peace of mind knowing that you are organized for tax season. If you need help getting a jump-start I'm here to help.
Kim's Organizing Solutions