RISBJ Staff | Mar 07, 2016
by Kristin M. MacRae
When tax season arrives, do you find you’re scrambling to search for all the paperwork your accountant requested? How many of you have walked into your accountant’s office with a bag full of receipts and disheveled paperwork? Has your accountant charged you an extra fee because you were disorganized? Get your information in order now and you won’t run into this problem next year.
Here are 6 things you can do now to get ready for next year’s tax season.
Get organized. Have a system and a process for every email, financial document, and piece of paper that enters your office. It’s all about creating working organized systems that will help you to become more efficient and productive.
Create a filing system. Keep all banking and financial documents organized in a filing system. Keep your statements and receipts together. As you receive documents throughout the year, keep them organized, labeled, and filed. This will keep you on track throughout the year.
Attach receipts to credit card statements. How many of you keep an ongoing bin of receipts? Your system is to throw receipts into a bin with the other 500 receipts from that year. Do you have receipts scattered all over the office? File monthly receipts in a pouch or file. When your credit card statement arrives, match up the receipts and file with your credit card statements. Do you have electronic statements? Keep monthly receipts stored in labeled files. You’ll never have receipts floating all over your office again!
Organize and contain tax related documents. As you begin to gather information for your taxes, create a folder or small organizing container (depending on how much tax information you have) for the tax year. Keep it in your filing cabinet with other important tax documents that you refer to throughout the year. If you have an abundance of documents and use a bin, do not throw the documents into the bin, it will defeat the purposing of maintaining organization. Keep information sorted by category. You can keep track of donations, stock shares, or 401k information in one location.
Keep all prior years organized in the same area. Label all your tax information from prior years and keep contained in one bin or labeled boxes. Check with your accountant to see how many years back you need to keep documents.
Maintenance. It’s great if you set up organized systems but all your hard work will be a waste of time if you don’t maintain the systems. For most people, this is the most difficult part. Create routines from the systems you create and put the work in to maintain them.
Wouldn’t it be great to go to your file cabinet, grab all of your labeled files and visit your accountant with no effort? Make a plan to tackle this project and you’ll be less stressed when tax season rolls around. Your accountant will have more confidence in you and you won’t be getting charged an extra fee due to your disorganization.