Organize + Energize: Getting Organized For Tax Season
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Get organized now and you won’t run into this problem next year. The reason you are not prepared is that you don’t have working organized systems in place. How many of you have walked into your accountant’s office with a brown paper bag full of receipts and disheveled paperwork?
If you had a difficult time this tax season, it’s time to create systems so next year will be painless and stress free. Here are 5 things you can do now to get ready for next year’s tax season.
1. Get organized.
You should know me by now and know that this would be #1! Have a system and a process for every email and piece of paper that enters your office.
2. Create a filing system.
Keep all banking and financial documents organized in a filing system. Keep your statements and receipts together. As you receive documents throughout the year, keep them organized, labeled, and filed. This is going to keep you organized throughout the year.
3. Attach receipts to credit card statements.
How many of you keep an ongoing bin of receipts? You have no system, or your system is to get a receipt and throw it in the bin with the other 500 receipts from that year. Organizing your receipts will save you a huge headache year round. File monthly receipts in a pouch or file. When your credit card statement arrives, match up the receipts and file with your credit card statements. Do you have electronic statements? Keep monthly receipts stored in labeled files. Never have receipts floating all over your home or office again!
4. Organize and contain tax related documents.
As you begin to gather information for your taxes, create a folder or small organizing container (depending on how much tax information you have) for the 2014 tax year. Keep it in your filing cabinet or wherever you store your important tax documents that you refer to throughout the year. If you have an abundance of documents and use a bin, do not haphazardly throw the documents into the bin. It will defeat the purposing of maintaining organization. Keep sorted by category in the bin. You can keep track of donations, stock shares, 401k information all organized and categorized in this bin.
5. Keep all prior years organized in the same area.
Label all your tax information from prior years and keep contained in one bin.
If you had a rough time this year trying to get organized for your taxes, follow the 5 tips above and next year will be stress and worry free. Your accountant will have more confidence in you, and you won’t be getting charged an extra fee due to your disorganization.
Related Slideshow: 5 Organizing Blunders
Avoid these mistakes and your project will take less time than you expected. You won’t be as stressed or as overwhelmed as you anticipated. You will be amazed at what you have accomplished. You will be motivated and energized to tackle another project.
Not planning ahead
Getting organized is a process and you have to have a plan on how to conquer your project. You can’t tear apart an entire room all at once. You need to break the project down into small pieces. Plan to tackle your project in 3-hour increments. If you work longer than 3 hours at a time, you are setting yourself up for burnout. Plan ahead to try to avoid distractions and stay focused.
Purchasing the incorrect supplies
I know you are excited to get organized, but don’t rush out to the store and purchase products just because you like the way they look. Get organized first. Figure out what you need to contain, and then purchase your container to match the items you need it to hold.
Not letting others know about your system
Once you set up the organized system, you have to get everybody in your home on board. Show them the systems and how you are going to function with this system going forward. Label everything if you must, so everybody gets in the habit of putting items away. Remember, the simpler the system, the easier it’s going to be to maintain.
Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.
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