This Friday is tax day, and while many of you have completed them, some others have yet to begin. Either way, we are not here to judge you - just to lend a hand.
The key to organized taxes is
to implement an organizational system a year ahead of filing day. Good news - that's basically now.
As we have stressed to our clients over the years, creating a home for everything you own is crucial to being organized. This is
true for your tax documents. So if you didn't designate a home for tax-related items in 2016, now is the time to establish one for 2017.
It doesn't have to be fancy (though our
7 year rotating tax file
is definitely a great system), it just has to work for you. How can you make it work?
Here are some tips:
- The location for W-2s, charitable donations, mortgage information and other important tax docs should be in a central, easy to reach location in the home or home office - not off site or in multiple locations.
- Share that location with your spouse or partner and label it clearly. It doesn't have to be a file!
basket or other container works fine too. The key is for it to be easy to see and identify.
- Keep all tax documents together in one file with the tax year as it's label, as opposed to separating documents by type. The exception to this is medical, which should have it's own folder due to volume.
- If you save paper receipts for itemized deductions, find a central and easy to reach location to stash them. It doesn't need to be pretty - it needs to be accessible and visible. Here are some ideas for storing receipts.
- If you track mileage, take advantage of a phone app to keep track. We like MileIQ. Quickbooks also has a mile tracker. If you don't have one, start today!
Now is the time to start fresh, so that you can wow your CPA - or yourself - with your awesome organizing skills next year when tax day comes around.