Posted by Fred Lake

How to Get Organized For Tax Season

How to Get Organized For Tax Season

Tax season is getting near in the United States and if you want your tax filing to go as smooth as possible, now is the best time to put things in order. In this article, we will share with you some of the best ways on how to get organized for tax season.

Place Your Documents in a File Folder

Have you been receiving tax documents in the mail over the past few days and weeks? If yes, then it’s best for you to start rounding them up and place them in a folder to make sure they are all ready by the time you prepare your taxes. 

You may put a label in the folder that says, “Tax Documents.”

Documents that you receive in the mail recently such as salary, income or investment documents must all be placed inside the folder. Locate all those tax documents as early as today so you don’t scramble looking for them once you need them.

Find A Safe Location For Your Folder

Now would be a good time to print out hard copies of the electronic tax documents you received and place those copies in your tax document file. 

If you want to keep everything kept and safely stored, you may also want to create a tax folder on your computer in addition to creating a physical file folder.

Collect All Your Receipts

Avoid getting a headache and frustrations later by collecting relevant receipts as early as now. Doing this will save you a significant amount of time.

You can find a folder, empty shoebox or document box where you can place all your receipts in one place and have them stored in a safe place.

We all are guilty of this - piling up all our receipts in our purse or wallets. However, doing this will only result in losing them so make sure you start placing them in a designated folder or box.

Once you cleared out all your receipts in your wallet, start walking around your home or office to look for more receipts. Make sure you look both high and low, in drawers, on top of the counters or desks, and in piles of papers. Place whatever you find in your receipt box.

Organize Your Receipts

Now that you placed the receipts on a safe box, it’s time to organize them. Regardless of whether you, a tax professional or a qualified tax preparer is preparing your taxes for you, you can make everyone’s life a little easier if you learn to organize a little bit. 

The basic premise in organizing receipts is this: sort like items with like, and them in chronological order.

For example, you have a collection of office supplies, client lunch, and travel expense receipts in your own business. You’ve probably jumbled all of them together. What you can do is process the receipts on at a time sort them into their respective categories.

You can then go through each category file once you finished sorting them out and then organize that pile by chronological order. You can start from January to December.

Start Decluttering Your Desk

The tax preparation process will likely slow down if your workstation is cluttered. 

Your miscellaneous papers, files, supplies, and lists shouldn’t be a distraction when you’re doing your tax preparation.

The archive section of your filing cabinet is the perfect place to place old project files and you can properly store office supplies in your drawer or desktop organizers. You can also relocate your books, magazines, and other paper materials to shelves, bookcases, or bins.

Schedule Tax Preparation

It’s best to schedule your tax preparation into your calendar because it will allow you to set a specific day where all you care about is your taxes. When you schedule your tax preparation, you are not only preparing yourself mentally in doing the future task, you are also able to think about what else to prepare before that day comes. Instead of waiting until the very last minute and trying to squeeze the task into your busy schedule, setting up a scheduled time is much better. 

The above tips we gave are only meant for those who are thinking about preparing their own taxes (except organizing your receipts - this one’s a must). If you choose to work with a tax professional, you can just pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. Doing saves you time and effort and sometimes, some money too.

Fred Lake
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