Organizing Tax Records

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated October 20, 2016)

There are not very many people in the world who like to do their taxes. Sure, we love to get the returns (when we qualify for them), but all the work, anxiety, and stress that comes along with taxes we could do with out. Well there is a way to make your tax time a little less stressful, and that is by organizing your tax records.

If you go to get your taxes done, and you go in with your tax records organized before hand, you will be amazed at how easy doing your taxes can actually become. Here are some simple guidelines that you can use to help you organize your tax records all year long.

  • Collect everything. The very first step in organizing your tax records, is to actually have some records to organize. This means that you should hold onto anything that you get throughout the year that may have a bearing on your taxes. Got W-2's and W-4's? If so, hold onto them. Do you get copies of your pay stub? If so, you should hold onto those as well. Basically, anything that you can think of that may have a bearing on taxes, hold onto it.
  • Separate. As you collect the records, you need to separate them. Place your personal financial information in one pile, while you place your spouse's information in another. If you have children who have an income (whether it is from child support or Social Security) then you should create a separate pile for them. If you are going to school, paying for someone to go to school, or own a home, then you should also create separate piles for each of them as well.
  • Organize. After you have separated all your tax records into separate piles, it is time to organize them. Start with any of the piles that you wish, and then organize them according to subject and date, and place these in to folders. Any information that you have can be separated in this manner. For example, in your personal records you could have a folder for your pay stubs, with that broken down by date of payment. Other examples of folders that you can make would be things like house payments, business transactions, and investments. Do this as many times as you need to until all of the paper work has been organized.
  • Take to a tax professional. When tax time rolls around, it is time to take your nicely organized tax records to a professional. Using a professional can help reduce the stress and worry that often comes with filing any tax returns. All you should need to do is drop off your tax records, and then come back later to sign the paperwork.
  • Place into storage. After you have filed your taxes, it is always a good idea to place your tax records into storage. The past years should be stored somewhere that is easily accessible, yet will be safe from any accidental damage. All tax records should be kept for a minimum of seven years, and it is recommended that you hold onto your tax records for ten years. If you get audited, often you will be required to show your past seven years worth of records.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Making Tiramisu

If you have ever been to an Italian restaurant, then chances are you have had tiramisu at least once. In fact, tiramisu ...

Discover More

Installing Molding for Interior Doors

When you install a door, or replace an existing door, your job isn't really finished until you have installed the ...

Discover More

Installing Motion-Sensor Lights

Safety is always an important issue to homeowners, and there is almost always something that can be done to improve it ...

Discover More

Cordless, Compact, and Powerful! DeWalt's 18-volt drill-driver kit packs a big punch in a small package, with a powerful high-performance motor tucked away inside a compact design. A great addition to the tool chest of any professional or DIYer! Check out DeWalt 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit today!

More Organizing Tips

Protecting Your Identity

Protecting your identity is becoming more important with each passing day. Often times it seems like you can't turn on ...

Discover More

Paper Filing

Too many papers can create unsightly clutter. Fix this problem by filing your papers in an orderly fashion.

Discover More

Organize Your Personal Papers

Personal papers and documents are almost literally a person's life blood in today's society. Here are some tips on how to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured organizational tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is two more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured organizational tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)