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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Office > Getting Tax-Time Papers Under Control
Getting Tax-Time Papers Under Control
By Sara Pedersen, Professional Organizer, Time to Organize® LLC

Make tax time a breeze by getting organized NOW! Use these tips to set up a simple and effective filing system. You’ll be able to slip in important papers throughout the year and tackle next year’s taxes with ease.
  • Create categories: Use standard file folders or large 9x12 envelopes to create categories. You’ll need several for deductions; depending upon your circumstances, they might include charitable donations, medical expenses, child care credits, education expenses, mortgage interest, etc. You’ll also need a folder for income-related papers, such as pay stubs. Create another folder for investments, so you can track taxable interest you’ve earned on savings accounts or investments. Also, create a general tax file to store W-2 or 1099 forms. If you have a home-based business, consult your tax advisor for additional documents to save.
  • Store them: Either place the folders all together in a section of your filing cabinet using hanging file folders, or purchase a plastic file box or expandable wallet to hold all the folders. Keep it conveniently located in your home.
  • Collect the papers: Throughout the year, add receipts and documents to the appropriate file folders as soon as you can.
  • You’re set: When tax time rolls around, pull out all the folders and use them as you prepare your tax documents. Or, take the whole shebang to your accountant’s office. She will be impressed!
  • Plan ahead: Create new files with the same category names so you’re ready to start collecting the next year’s tax papers.

Sara Pedersen is a professional organizer and career coach at Time to Organize® LLC. She enjoys sharing her passion for organizing not only with her clients, but with prospective and new professional organizers as well. Visit her website at www.time2organize.net.