Seems like every article I’ve received for the last few months has been about tax preparation. So as not to inundate everyone on my email list with yet another article about tax preparation, I chose to write about other things the past few months. However, now that “tax time” is over (for most of us), I thought it would be a good time to put this information out there.
First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who wouldn’t rather be doing anything else besides getting their taxes ready or “doing” their taxes. I know, and I’m sure you know, a lot of people that have to scramble or spend many hours to pull their paperwork together to file their taxes year after year. So many people just can’t seem to get it together timely and have to file extensions even though we all know that every year on April 15th we have to file our taxes.
Of course, there are extenuating circumstances and some do have to wait and file in October, but, for the rest, in my opinion, filing an extension just prolongs the agony of having to get this paperwork done.
Think about this…What if it only took an hour every year to pull your tax documents together? Don’t you think that most people wouldn’t dread it as much? Of course nobody wants to give the government their hard-earned money BUT, I’m thinking it wouldn’t be such a dreadful task if it only took an hour to pull it together. Truth be told, it should not take more than an hour to pull your tax documents together.
Here are some suggestions as to how to make tax preparation and other paper challenges less daunting:
A. If you don’t have a filing system, start one that is easy to use and maintain:
- Think about what kind of system would work for you:
- Alphabetical, Numerical, etc.
B. Get all of your supplies together:
- Files: make sure you have the right size files for your cabinet or container.
- Decide if you will use interior files, hanging files, color coded files.
- Labels: Use a label-maker or labels that you can print from your computer
- Make sure to name the files correctly so that you can find what you’re looking for.
C. If you already have a filing system but the papers are busting out of the filing cabinets, purge to make room for the current files:
- Talk to your CPA to ask how long you need to keep your documents before tossing or shredding anything.
Putting a filing system into place isn’t that difficult. Moreover, once it’s done it’s done! All you have to do is use it and maintain it. If done right, it’s just that simple. Then, whatever you need is there when you need it. No more wasted time looking for papers.
If you don’t have the where-with-all to do this, CALL me. I can and want to help. I started Organizing Concepts and Designs 9 years ago after spending 30 years in the Legal Industry as a Paralegal and Legal Assistant. I am familiar with the IRS Retention Guidelines and am well aware of what documents to keep, what documents can be tossed, which ones should be shredded and what needs to be archived (and for how long). We can implement a filing system tailored to your needs.
Bottom line is…keeping your paperwork organized will save you a substantial amount of time and money.