There’s nothing like tax season to remind you of the cluttered of paperwork. Organizing all your important papers can be daunting without the IRS breathing down your neck, so it’s no wonder people feel stress around this time of year. Luckily, filing your taxes doesn’t have to be overwhelming. These tips will help you organize your taxes for this year and every year after, so you’re always prepared.
Find a space big enough for the job.
This is especially important if you run your own business and have receipts, invoices, and other official documents to organize. You’ll need a space big enough to spread out and make neat piles so that you can easily comb through them later when it comes to tax time. You don’t want to start at the kitchen counter and realize that you’ll need to move the fruit bowl and the toaster to have room for everything.
Prepare marked folders.
There’s nothing more frustrating than making piles and then forgetting what each pile was for or confusing one pile with another. Label your folders with what makes the most sense, like income, health forms, and charitable donations, and organize the clutter from there. Once everything is where it should be, you can begin filing your taxes without the unease of searching through stacks of papers.
Create a dedicated space to store your tax returns.
The IRS recommends keeping your tax returns and associated documents on hand for three years – longer if you run a business. Label a filing cabinet or drawer and go ahead and prepare a space for next year’s taxes as well. Replicate the folders you created for this year’s taxes, so that when documents come into your possession in the coming months, you can file them accordingly. Next year, all you’ll have to do is pull out the folders and file taxes like a pro.
It can take days or even weeks to comb through a year of documents, so save yourself the stress and keep your financial documents organized. Filing is much easier when you’ve planned, so even if this year wasn’t a great experience, you can rest assured that next year will be better. Sorting through the stack of papers now may seem daunting, but it’s a project that doesn’t have to repeat itself.