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If you didn’t know it already, it’s tax time.
That means there is no better time to organize your tax documents to make filing your taxes a little easier. Unfortunately, arranging paperwork can’t alleviate the pain of filing taxes, but it can certainly help lessen the time it takes to file them.Don’t wait until the last minute to organize your tax files
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Here are 6 simple tips to get your space and your documents organized- just in time for filing taxes.
- Use a small filing cabinet. This is a huge timesaver and an easy way to keep all your tax documents in one place. Plus, it allows you to separate paperwork by topic. Or,
- Get an inexpensive pocket folder. Organize and label files such as W-2’s, 1099’s or any other tax documents. If each has a separate label, they’re easier to find come tax time.
- Try to organize tax docs year round. As you receive tax documents throughout the year, immediately place them in their labeled file. While most paperwork arrives near the end of January, it’s nice to already have a “system” in place to follow.
- Use software for personal or business needs. Try using Quicken or Mint.com to help organize your personal taxes. Or use QuickBooks for your small business needs to track all income and expenses.
- Create a checklist to make sure you have all the documents necessary. This will include but is not limited to):
- Your Social Security Number, and the SSNs of anyone else listed on your tax forms
- Bank account number and routing numbers (if you pay electronically)
- Your electronic federal tax paying system information (EFTPS) if filing electronically
- A list of paid taxes such as property taxes, self employment tax, estimated taxes, etc.
- All tax documents such as W-2s, 1099’s, 1098’s
- Any interest paid on mortgage or student loans
- Any charitable donation receipts
- Homebuyer tax credits
- Medical costs and receipts (if they are deductible)
- Donations to tax deferred retirement accounts (IRA, self-employed retirement accounts, 401k).
- Child care and education costs
- Other related documents
- Don’t be afraid to turn to a professional. TurboTax and H & R Block @ Home offer simple and clear instructions to help you file your taxes. They provide answers to frequently asked questions, depending on the tax topic you’re working on. If necessary, reach out to a tax professional if your situation is still unclear.
Even if your tax situation isn’t complex, there’s still documentation the IRS requires. But filing taxes doesn’t have to be an ordeal. You can eliminate a lot of the frustration and time-consuming paper chasing if you have all the materials available in an easy, manageable fashion.
“Getting Organized for Tax Season.” Million Dollar Journey RSS. Money Works Media, 24 Apr. 08. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/getting-organized-for-tax-season.htm
Guina, Ryan. “How to Organize Your Tax Documents.” Cash Money Life Personal Finance Investing Career. N.p., 19 Feb. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2015. http://cashmoneylife.com/how-to-organize-your-tax-documents/
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