7 Ways to Organize Tax Records & Make Your CPA Happy :-)
You’re dreading the tax, organizational process. You’re overwhelmed because the tax deadline is rapidly approaching. And you don’t know how to begin. Does this sound familiar?
OH YEAH, I need HELP and FAST!!!!
Just getting started and organized is the hardest part. The solution is to work on a task at a time and in a short interval. For example, I might work 2 hours on a Saturday morning, leave it, and come back for another hour later in the afternoon. Short intervals of concentration and organization work best when tackling dreaded tasks. Let’s Get this party started !!!
Seven Ways to Organize your Tax Records:
1. CREATE A FILING SYSTEM
If you don’t have an organized filing system for your receipts, now is the time to create one. Make alphabetized file folders for both 2017 and 2018. Put the 2018 folders in hanging file folders and place inside a plastic filing box or a file drawer. Start today by filing your 2018 receipts in the folders as you go! One proper time management & organizational rule is to “only touch a piece of paper once.” In other words, file the paperwork as soon as you touch it! You will thank me for this Valuable Tip next year! 🙂
“I only handle a piece of paper once,” he said. “Once I get it, I have to make a decision: to act upon it immediately, to allocate it to somebody else to totally finish it, or throw it away.” John Paul DeJoria, Austin Billionaire
2. ORGANIZE RECEPTS
Go through your 2017 receipts. File them in the alphabetized folders as you go. Pull out paperwork considered as itemized deductions such as medical payments, charitable contributions, and mortgage interest payments. If you don’t know what is acceptable as an itemized deduction in 2017, ask your CPA, or look at last year’s tax return to get a general idea. Create a file folder for each itemized deduction and file your receipts in the appropriate folder. Itemized deductions are expenses you have paid out during the year.
3. SEPARATE INCOME RECEIPTS
Label a file folder “Income.” File all income received statements in this folder such as W2’s, 1099’s, interest earned statements, K-1’s from S-Corp business, insurance settlements received, and social security income benefits. Income is money you have received during the year. Ask your CPA what’s to be considered as income or look at last year’s return to get a general idea of what’s acceptable.
4. DISTINGUISH MISCELLANEOUS TRANSACTIONS
Create separate file folders for receipts related to investment properties, the purchase or sale of real estate, including your settlement statements and receipts for repairs, 529 Savings account, child care expenses, and IRA statements. If you have any questions about an unusual transaction that took place during 2017, ask your CPA. (By the way, have I mentioned how important it is to have a CPA on your team?) Oh Yeah!!! Ask your neighbors or co-workers for recommendations, set up a time to interview a few, and hire one to prepare your tax return. CPA’s book up fast this time of year. Don’t be that person who waits until April 14th to call for an appointment.
5. SEGREGATE BUSINESS RECEIPTS
If you are a sole proprietor, S-Corp, or LLC business owner, your income or loss from your business will pass through your tax return. Updated business financial statements, including a balance sheet and profit and loss statements, will be required as backup support. Organize your business receipts by creating alphabetized file folders. When operating a business, implementing a sound Accounting software system to keep track and record your business income and expenses is very important. An Accounting software program will help keep your business records updated and save a lot of time at year end. Updated financial statements show where your money went and how much money you’ve received. Daily, weekly, and monthly reviews of your financial accounts keep you, the business owner, informed about the overall health of your business. To read about the “10 Best Accounting Software of 2018”, click this link from Consumer’s Advocate Organization
6. STORE IN A FILING BOX
Once all of your receipts are in file folders, place them in hanging file folders within a plastic file box (purchased from your local office supply company) or in a file drawer. The plastic file box is easily deliverable to your CPA or tax preparer. Just watch the BIG SMILE on their face when they see how organized you are !!!
7. COUNT YOUR SAVINGS
Pat yourself on the back…you’ve just made the tax preparation time shorter for your CPA which SAVED YOU MONEY!
Happy tax organizing!
Your Venture Coach & Biggest Fan