Consistency in organizing important papers all year long is not easy. If you haven’t been keeping your records organized all year long, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. We have a few tips for you to get organized before the end of the year. Once the new year comes around, tax season is right around the corner.
Create a convenient storage space
Your convenient storage space could be in your home, your car, or anywhere you work. Ideally, you could have one storage box or bin just to gather all the banking statements, expense forms, receipts, etc., in one place. Common ways to keep these are in manila folders or envelopes. Depending on your style of organization, this can be as detailed as you prefer. The idea is to have one place to collect documents as you go and then group them together at least once a month.
Group documents by how you file
Once a month, gather all of your documents from your convenient storage space and group them as you would file your taxes. Depending on how many documents you have and anticipate, these could all stay in your home storage box or in an accordion folder. Use last year’s return as a guide. Common groups would be income, expenses, and business/tax documents. At the end of the year, all of your documents will be filed and grouped and ready for you to prepare for tax season saving you time and energy.
Keep important documents safe
You should keep your tax returns forever and keep them in safe place. However, you only need to keep supporting documents for seven years. In addition to those documents, you will want to keep other important documents safe such as wills, insurance policies, mortgage documents and property bills. Keep these in plastic sleeves in a home safe or storage area to help prevent any damage. This storage area should be different from your convenient storage space mentioned above. In addition, consider making copies of all of your important documents and store them outside of your home.
Overall, keeping your documents organized will help reduce errors and save you time when it tax season comes around. Don’t make it complicated for your lifestyle. Keeping all of your important documents organized and safe will give you peace of mind when you need to find them in a pinch. You will know exactly where to go instead of rummaging through piles of mail or junk drawers.