Organizing Blog

6 Tips to Getting Your Files Ready for Tax Season


Are your files busting at the seams? Does your accountant need a specific item but you cannot find it? These six tips will help you keep your files tax ready all year long!

Tip 1: Keep business and personal files separate. Keeping your files separated sounds too simple, but it is very effective! Clearly label them and colorcode them. For example, use Blue for Personal and Green for Business.  

Tip 2: Have a system for your receipts. Keep your receipts in monthly folders so you can reconcile your bank and credit card statements easily. Carry two small mesh bags with you at all times. Use different colors so you can designate one for business and one for personal. When you get a receipt from a purchase you will put it into one of the two bags. At the top it is helpful to write on each receipt the purpose of the purchase.

Tip 3: Have a mail and paper system. To avoid keeping piles everywhere as your active files set up a system for bringing in your mail and managing the paper. When it comes into your home decide where it will go first? Open it near a trash can, have a shred pile and have an active file system to put opened items in. An example would be to have stacker trays labeled “Incoming Mail”, “To Be Read”, “To Be Filed”, and “To Be Paid”. As soon as the mail is opened it lands in one of these trays.

Tip 4: Have a filing system. When you open your file drawer is there a system in place or are the files just there? For business you can have files labeled for items such as, Auto, Credit, Receipts, 2010 Tax Docs, Insurance, etc.

Tip 5: Set a deadline. Decide you will have your taxes done this year by February 28. Write this deadline down in your calendar. Clearly decide what steps must be taken to meet this deadline. Having a white board is also a smart way to visually see the steps necessary and the deadline.

Tip 6: Get help. Sometimes you do not have time to do the filing and keeping track of all the paper. If that is the case get help. There are virtual assistants, interns and of course professional organizers that can come in and help set up and maintain a system that is best for you.