If your stress level was sky high this April, you weren’t alone. Many of us scramble days before the tax deadline, searching our homes for receipts and paperwork. The key to a more relaxed tax season is organization. Start NOW for a smooth sailing next year. Here are 5 tips to consider:
1) Set Up A Paper-Based System – This sounds complicated but it can be as easy as buying a few accordion or hanging folders and choosing one location in your home where everything tax-related will be stored. Separate personal and business records. Think about expense categories like medical, education, childcare, mortgage interest, work-related costs you incurred, charitable donations, contributions to tax-deferred retirement accounts (401k, IRA, self-employed retirement accounts), and property taxes.
2) Or Use Digital Option – Maintain paperless records by scanning receipts and important papers and then downloading into a folder on your computer. You may prefer to use a phone app to photograph receipts and categorize them. It’s important to remember to back up any type of scanning securely in a cloud-like Dropbox or Google Cloud.
3) Keep Checklist – Have a list handy with information like your social insurance number, pertinent dependents’ information, and bank account and routing numbers if you pay or receive refunds electronically.
4) Develop a Routine – Throughout the year, resist the temptation to deal with invoices, receipts, and other paperwork later. By spending some time every day, once a week, or twice a month you will avoid lost time later looking endlessly for tax-related items.
5) Get Help – If your life is too busy with work and family, consider hiring a Personal Organizer to get you started, and to maintain the system periodically. Instead of wasting valuable time in April wandering around the house searching for lost receipts, spend time productively now setting up a system to make life easier later.
Tax season does not have to be horrible. Get a system that works for your personal and business needs, stay organized, and enlist help if you are overwhelmed. Call Potomac Concierge today to be connected to one of our Professional Organizers with expertise in paper and digital organization.
We would be happy to help with your move.
– Potomac Concierge