ClutterBusters

Jessica Wood, Clutterbusters!! Certified Organizer on WUSA 9 CBS “Mind over Money”

March 9, 2007

TAX TIPS from the show

Set up an all-year round file system

Designate a box, accordion file, or a file cabinet for year-round paper storage and retrieval. Create folders for receipts, credit card and bank statements, anything you have spent money on or need to keep track of for tax purposes. As you acquire such documents, place them in the appropriately labeled folder. This is beneficial not only for tax time but for when you have to retrieve certain papers throughout the year.

Give your tax-related papers a home

Every January, our mailboxes become flooded with documents necessary for filing your taxes. At the beginning of the year, designate a large envelope or box in one area of your home or a file in your file cabinet for these papers. Examples of these are:

• W2’s

• 1099’s

• Mortgage interest statements

• Bank interest statements

• Real estate tax statements

• Investment statements

• Receipts for charitable donations

Sort and create categories for your papers/receipts

By early February you should have received all paperwork necessary to complete your taxes. Take that envelope/box/file of collected papers and sort them by category. This process will enable you or your tax preparer to quickly locate your papers and receipts. Some basic categories are:

• Salary

• Real Estate

• Medical

• Childcare

• Investments

Save your tax preparer aggravation by throwing away the envelopes that your statements came in and tear off the perforated edges from your income statements. Group the documents into the categories you’ve created and paper clip them together. Place all of these papers in a folder or large envelope.

Call your tax preparer early

If you’re using a tax preparer, call in January to schedule a mid to late February tax appointment. Doing this forces you to organize and compile all the necessary information by that date. Also, accountants get very busy as April 15th approaches. You don’t want an exhausted accountant doing your taxes…

Being organized at tax time will give you greater control over the tax preparation process. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you will feel a sense of calm and accomplishment. Instead of frantically searching for documents you will be able to produce them at a moment’s notice. Instead of your accountant cursing your name, he/she will sing your praises when you present them with an envelope of organized papers and receipts.

The sooner you get organized for tax time the sooner you may get that big refund check. If that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is…

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