Was your tax preparation a nightmare this year? If your current organization system is a shoe box full of receipts, it’s time to make a change. Save yourself the hassle and worry next year with these 5 easy tips for storing and organizing receipts for taxes.
1. Out with the old. How long should you keep old tax records? That depends on how you paid your taxes and whether you need to file additional claims after you file. A good rule of thumb is to keep your records for 7 years (a year longer than traditional audits go back). If you are self-employed or operate a small business, check out this cheat sheet from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
2. Go traditional. If your taxes require a lot of documentation, a file cabinet may be a good option for you. Choose folders with changeable labels so you can recycle folders as needed. Make sure the file cabinet you choose has adequate functions for your office and document storage needs (locking drawers, ability to be stacked with other units, etc.).
3. Think creatively. Your perfect document storage container may be found in the… kitchen? A dish drainer can double as a less expensive alternative to bulky desktop file holders. Grab some sturdy folders, and get your receipts organized quickly and easily with this cost effective solution.
4. Go digital. It’s a good idea to electronically back up important paper documents. Invest in a scanner to make storing copies of your old tax information. Keeping digital back-ups of your tax documents makes accessing past returns easy and offers peace of mind if your paper copies are damaged or destroyed.
5. File on the go. If you’re always on the road, consider taking a plastic file storage box with you. These convenient containers are ideal for truck drivers, outside sales people and other traveling professionals. Many plastic file storage boxes even have carrying handles and snap on lids to ensure that your files and receipts stay put as you travel.
Whether you live to work or work to live, filling taxes is a fact of life. Make the process easier by getting organized with our 5 simple tips for storing your tax documents.