Tax season can be daunting. While the Well-Organized Woman can’t make your filings any less complicated or get you more money back, we can bring some organization to the process. Follow our tips and this year’s tax season will be a breeze.
Record Keeping & Organization:
The best thing you can do to prepare for tax season is to keep organized throughout the year. There are two methods of document storage, low-tech and high-tech. For the low-tech person, who likes to keep physical copies of all records, there are many storage options. Typical hanging files, document storage boxes, and accordion folders work great. Those who are comfortable with technology or are limited in storage space may prefer to utilize a document scanner and digital storage system to store their files. No matter the method, the key to organization is to ensure that all tax-related documents are stored in categorized files. This will help you or your tax preparation professional easily fill out the forms and identify all possible deductions. Check out some of our favorite storage options below.
Low Tech Storage Options:
High Tech Storage Options:
Necessary Tax Documents:
This list contains categories of typical documents necessary for filing taxes. These categories can also serve as excellent file labels for document storage.
- Income: W-2, K-1, 1099-SSA, Retirement distributions (1099-R), trust fund documents, inheritance documents
- Self Employment: Records of income (1099-MISC) and expenses (vehicle, supplies, home office, utilities, technology, tools, etc.)
- Investments: 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-B forms
- Healthcare: Medical, dental, and alternative treatment cost receipts, prescription drug costs, healthcare supplies cost receipts, etc.
- Personal & Family: Alimony forms, proof of jury duty pay, childcare receipts, etc.
- Education: Student loan interest forms (1098-E), undergraduate textbook receipts, tuition costs (1098-T), etc.
- Charitable Deductions: Receipts obtained from 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charities
- Business: Union dues, travel expenses, moving expenses, entertainment, uniform costs, etc.
- Vehicle: Registration fee receipts, business-related car expenses including gas, insurance, and maintenance, etc.
- Real Estate: Rental property income, home repair costs, mortgage interest forms (1098)
- Gambling, Lottery, & Miscellaneous Earnings Documents
- Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Documents
As always, The Well-Organized Woman team is available to assist in getting you organized for 2011 taxes or to set up a system for managing this year’s documents.