Manage Your Taxes with a Good FILE System

March 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

The big April15th tax deadline will be here before you know it! The best way to reduce the stress associated with doing your taxes is to be organized and keep track of your paperwork throughout the year. This month, Organized A to Z offers some great products to help you build a file system that will help you accomplish this.

Thanks to Kristin White del Rosso of  Pea Organizing Services, Inc. for contributing this article today. She offers some great suggestions for creating a records-management system.

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April 15 – Tax Day – is fast approaching. Are you ready? Is your paperwork in order or scattered in various files or a box to be dealt with later?

You are in for quite a challenging project if your information is not properly organized. Tax season is daunting enough, but managing financial records, papers and files can magnify the time and energy spent preparing for tax season.

The consequences of a disorganized record-keeping system are far reaching, impacting productivity, time, stress and even money spent on potential penalties and possibly overpaying Uncle Sam.

It is never too late to create and maintain a record-keeping system, which offers many benefits including: making better financial decisions; reducing stress by being ready to file taxes on time; and having documents on hand to be better equipped to prove your deductions if audited.

So, what is the best way to manage your system? Remember this simple acronym – F-I-L-E:

  • File records, such as deduction receipts and W-2 forms, as soon as you get them.
  • Identify a regular time – daily, weekly or monthly – to maintain records by making and keeping appointments with yourself.
  • Label a new folder at the beginning of each year to immediately file records away for the following tax season.
  • Ease up if you forget something. An imperfect system is better than no system at all. You can always make improvements as you go along or when you start a new system the following year.

Part of managing your system is keeping past records organized. The general rule for keeping back-up documentation is seven years, as the IRS can audit you back six years, assuming there is not a case of fraud. To organize these past records, create a file by year with categories by deductions such as medical, taxes, etc. Following each tax season, immediately file your records in the designated secure storage space. Keep your tax returns permanently and house them in a box located in a safe area as well.

While you still have some time, start gathering and sorting your tax documents now. Spending a few minutes each day will feel less daunting than losing a weekend or cutting into important work projects or personal time. Label each pile clearly and tackle one category at a time. As you are doing this, plan and modify your system to meet your particular record-keeping needs.

Copyright © 2009 Kristin White del Rosso

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Kristin White del Rosso, President of Pea Organizing Services, Inc. is Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®) from the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. For more information, call 704-344-0210 or visit www.thepea.com.

White del Rosso is a member of the NAPO Golden Circle and a Certified Paper Tiger Authorized Consultant (PTAC™) from the Hemphill Productivity Institute. She has also earned a Certificate of Study in Basic Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Issues, a Certificate of Study in Chronic Disorganization, and a Certificate of Study in Learning Styles and Modalities from the National Study Group of Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD). In addition to the National Study Group of Chronic Disorganization, Pea Organizing Services is a member of ADD Consults, ADD Resources, and the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPOTM).

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Entry filed under: Business, Home Management, Office, Organizing Tips, Paper Management, Record Keeping. Tags: , , , , , .

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