Tax Day may not be until April 15th, but it’s not too early to start getting organized for tax season.Start planning now to save yourself stress later. From scheduling time to sorting receipts early, here are some of the ways you can get organized for tax season.
Keep Everything Tax-Related Together
Part of getting organized for tax season means waiting. Waiting for W-2s, 1099s, a 1088, and other important documents to arrive in the mail sometime by early February. As you receive each one, file it together with your other documents for safekeeping. An accordion folder can be a great place to store several years’ worth of tax documents. Keep a separate tab for each year, where you can store receipts, forms for filing, and your completed tax return. Whether you work with an accountant or file on your own, keeping your documents together will make the whole process go much more smoothly.
Make a Plan For Tax Preparation And Mark Your Calendar
Having a big, nebulous task hanging over your head can be a huge cause of stress. One way to combat this feeling is by having a plan. Mark important dates in your calendar, like a date you will follow up with employers or banks about tax documents that didn’t arrive by early February. Schedule time in your calendar to work on organizing your receipts, preparing tax forms, and meeting with your accountant (if you use one). When you book this time in advance, you can take your taxes one self-deadline at a time so you don’t get hit with all the work in mid-April.
Organize Your Receipts
Whether you are a business owner, employee, or self-employed, you likely have accumulated expenses from the past year you will need when it comes time to file. Organizing your receipts is something you can do while waiting for your tax documents to arrive. If you haven’t already been storing them in one place, take some time to gather your receipts, separate them into category of expense (travel, business meals, office supplies, etc.), and then arrange chronologically.
Consider Going Digital For Your Tax Paperwork
If you have limited storage space in your office or home, it may make sense to go digital. Take photos of each receipt soon after you make the purchase, then label and upload these to a file on your computer. Many workplaces and banks offer digital delivery of your documents or may already require you to download and print them yourself. Filing all these documents electronically keeps things organized while taking up zero physical space.
Declutter Old Tax Documents
So your accordion folder or filing cabinet is full. Before moving your documents into a separate storage space you may never again access, check to see if you need to keep them at all. Most people only need to keep their tax returns and documents on hand for three years, according to the IRS, though there are some exceptions. Unnecessary long-term document storage can be a source of stress and disorganization, as well as a waste of time and space. Check with an accountant or the IRS website to determine what documents can be safely shredded and when.
Plan for Next Year’s Tax Season
Getting organized for tax season is much easier when you stay organized throughout the year. If you make certain small tasks a habit, you will save a lot of time during tax season.For example, labelyour receipts with the reason for each expense as you collect them. Rather than tossing them into a folder to deal with later, sort them as you go—or better yet, scan them and sort digitally. If you made a schedule for this tax season that worked well for you, consider adding those dates into your calendar now to save time and stress in the new year.
Professional Organizers for Tax Season and Beyond
Just like you might enlist the help of a professional accountant to help you file your taxes, you can also hire a professional organizer to help you bring order to your life this tax season. At Totally Organized, we can help you collect and sort the documents you need to file your taxes and create a sustainable organizational system catered to your situation. Whether you are a business owner, employee, or self-employed, a professional organizer can help you keep the stress out of getting organized for tax season so you can get back to doing what matters. Call us today for a free quote!