Tax season is well underway here in the United States.
If you haven’t yet filed your taxes, now’s a great time to put things in order.
In this post, I offer a collection of five simple ways you can get organized for tax season.
Make a tax document file folder.
You know those tax documents you received in the mail over the past few days and weeks?
You’re going to round them up, and place them in a folder for safekeeping until you are ready to prepare your taxes.
Take a manila folder and label it “Tax Documents.”
Locate all the tax documents you’ve received in the mail recently, such as salary, income or investment documents, and place them inside the folder.
Store your folder in a safe location.
If you received electronic tax documents, now would be a good time to print out hard copies, and place those copies in your tax document file.
In addition to creating a physical file folder, you may also want to create a tax folder on your computer to keep everything contained.
Round up your receipts.
Collecting relevant receipts now will save you from unnecessary headaches and frustrations later.
Find a manila folder, empty shoebox, or document box. You’re going to store all of your receipts in this one container.
Next, empty out all of the receipts in your purse or wallet into the box.
When you’re finished with that, walk around your home or office in search of receipts. Look both high and low, in drawers, on top of counters or desks, in piles of papers, and so on. Take whatever you find, and place them into your receipt box.
Organize your receipts.
It doesn’t matter if you prepare your taxes yourself, or if you have your accountant or qualified tax preparer do so; a little bit of organization makes everyone’s life a little easier!
How should you go about organizing receipts? Well, the basic premise is as follows: sort like items with like, and then arrange items chronologically.
Let’s say you own your own business and have a collection of office supply, client lunch, and travel expense receipts. Everything’s all jumbled together. All you have to do is process the receipts one at a time, sorting them into their respective categories.
Once you’re finished with that, you can go through each category pile, and then organize that pile by chronologic order, from January to December.
For more step-by-step help on organizing expense receipts, take a look at my recent post here.
Declutter your desk.
A cluttered workstation can slow down the tax preparation process.
You shouldn’t have to wrestle with or be distracted by miscellaneous papers, files, supplies, and lists.
Now is a great time to place those old project files into the archive section of your filing cabinet, properly store office supplies in your drawer or desktop organizers, and relocate books, magazines, and other paper materials to shelves, bookcases, or bins.
If you’re looking for in-depth desk organization help, you should grab a copy of my free desk organizing guide.
Schedule tax preparation time into your calendar.
Schedule a time to do your taxes? Yup, you read that correctly.
Scheduling tax preparation into your calendar not only mentally prepares you for the task to come, but ensures you’ll actually have the time to work on your taxes.
That’s a much better option than waiting until the very last-minute, and trying to squeeze the task into a jam-packed schedule.
Keep in mind, the above tip is meant for those who prepare their own taxes. If you work with, or would rather have your taxes prepared by qualified tax preparer, pick up the phone or send an email ASAP to schedule an appointment. You’ll be glad you did.
How about you? How do you get yourself organized for tax season? Do you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to share? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!