Monthly Archives: September 2012

Organizing Your Tax Records

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Organizing Your Tax Records

April arrives and you’re scrambling through your paperwork to find your important tax documents. Did you throw away an invoice, or lose a receipt? The best way to stay away from this stressful situation is to organize your tax records now. Doing so will make preparing your tax returns much easier once filing season arrives.   It will also save you preparation fees if your tax documents arrive at our office organized and they are all there.

If you’re lost and confused about what is important and what is not, this article will provide exactly what you need to know to ensure you are heading in the right direction.

Individuals

If you are an individual and want to organize your tax files there are several key steps you must take.  It is important that you identify what is important to keep a record of. Examples of important documents include

  • Bills
  • Credit card  statements
  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • Mileage logs
  • Canceled, imaged or substitute checks or other proof of payments
  • And any other records supporting deductions or credits claimed.

These documents must be kept for at least three years.

Other important records you should keep for a minimum of three years include records relating to properties. Below lists just a few of the important ones:

  • Home Purchase or improvements
  • Stocks and other investments
  • Individual Retirement Account transactions
  • Rental property records

Small Business Owners

Small Business owners should keep all tax related documents for a minimum of four years. This includes documentation of:

  • All employment tax records
  • Records of gross receipts
  • Proof of purchases
  • Expenses and assets

In detail this includes:

  • Cash register tapes
  • Bank deposit slips
  • Receipt books,
  • Purchases
  • Sales invoices credit card charges
  • Sales slips
  • Form 1099-MISC
  • Canceled checks
  • Account statements
  • Petty cash slips
  • Real estate closing statements

Electronic records

  • Databases
  • Saved Files
  • e-mails
  • instant messages
  • faxes
  • voice messages

How to store these files?

There is no designated way to keep your files. By having a designated place for these documents and receipts it will not only help ease your tax filing process, but it allows you to have all your information on hand for personal use. In addition having organized files will make the process of an audit much easier to navigate through.