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6 Tips for Organizing Your Tax Information to Make Tax Filing a Breeze

6 Tips for Organizing Your Tax Information - TaxACT Blog

Maybe you’ve been filing your tax information away neatly in color-coded file folders all year, or scanning and saving them where you can find them in a second.

All you need now is your Form W-2 and a few other forms that arrive in January, and you’re all set.

That’s great.

Most of us, unfortunately, aren’t quite that organized.

We started last year with good intentions, but then life happened. But, if we spend a little time organizing our tax information now, preparing our returns will be a snap.

Use these tips to easily organize your tax information:

Designate an easy-to-access place for tax documents

If the place you want to keep documents isn’t easy to get to, it won’t get used consistently.

Even if you intend to scan documents, you need a place to store them temporarily.

Consider choosing something you can reach with one hand (like a shelf or folder), even while holding a stack of mail.

If you don’t let that Form W-2 or 1099 hit the kitchen counter, it will never get lost.

Group tax documents by category

Depending on the complexity of your tax return and how much room you can spare, you may want to use file folders, paper clips, boxes, or other methods to categorize documents.

Entering information in TaxAct will be much easier if you have information for your income, deductions, and credits separate.

If you have one or more businesses, you’ll need to keep information for each business separately.

Find last year’s return

Last year’s return is an important starting point for this year’s filing.

By looking at your return for last year, you can see what information you probably need now.

In addition, you may need to use some information from last year, such as depreciation or inventory information or credit carryovers on this year’s tax return.

Start worksheets and lists for 2017

Unless your tax return consists mostly of one or two different copies of Form W-2, you probably need a worksheet and other records of how you arrived at the information you enter on your return.

Start a checklist of questions and information you still need.

For example, you may need to get tax information from your child care provider or the number of square feet in your home office.

You should also keep a worksheet that shows how you estimated amounts or allocated them between different categories.

Besides being necessary if the Internal Revenue Service ever questions your return, this information may be useful in future tax years.

Use the tax tools on TaxAct.com

We’ve put together a collection of tips and tools to make tax time easier.

Check them out at TaxAct.com.

 

TaxAct makes preparing and filing your taxes quick, easy and affordable so you get your maximum refund. It’s the best deal in tax. Start free now or sign into your TaxAct Account.
About Sally Herigstad

Sally Herigstad is a certified public accountant and personal finance columnist and author of Help! I Can't Pay My Bills, Surviving a Financial Crisis (St. Martin's Griffin). She writes regularly at CreditCards.com, Bankrate.com, Interest.com, RedPlum, and MSN Money. She is an experienced speaker and a member of Toastmasters International. Follow Sally on Twitter.

Comments

  1. These are awesome tips. I totally agree that it’s helpful to have previous tax statements when you’re doing your taxes. It helps you get a feel for where you are financially, and it’s a lot easier when you have last years statements to follow when you’re filling out your information. I’ll have to check out TaxACT.com!
    Brook | http://www.maddernfinancial.com.au/accountants/services-sub-page/19/Tax-Accounting

  2. II had no credit card last year 2013 I did the tax program and had about 595.00 refund but never could pay the 13.99 to e file what should I do I have no account for direct deposit but can get a green dot card or something to pay the 13.99 will it work

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