All is not lost. There’s still time to get ready for April 2009 without getting flustered. You can do one better for 2009 records. At the very beginning of the year grab a file folder, duly label it Tax year 2009. In you pop those DMV bills that let you claim license fees on your 1040. If you have medical bills, prescription, flex or HSA claims, pop them in or better yet, have a separate sub-folder for them. An accordion file, subcategorized with appropriate labels, is another device for all your tax papers.
If you have a home office and who doesn’t these days, have a separate file for your mortgage bills. If you claim your home office on your personal income tax it’s a sound idea to have your mortgage bills readily available. Have you made charitable contributions? Those receipts should also be safely tucked away to claim your deductions. For small business home offices you might have other claims. Do you claim a percentage of your utility bills, landscaping and gardening and other such expenses? All this paperwork should also be ready at hand.
When February rolls around, the bank will send you your mortgage annual statements. 1099s will arrive daily in the mail. All your annual stock statements will be arriving. Immediately stock them away in your 1040 file. As soon as they are all there, you can easily start on your income tax return.
Once those returns are done, you can begin to relax. Maybe for once you can actually enjoy those April showers and flowers and Spring! There’s one more chore, however. If there are credit card statements and other expenses that you couldn’t take any deductions for, if you don’t need them for anything else, do shred and discard them. Returns from previous years and back-up paperwork for them can be archived and put away so they don’t clutter up your new filing system. If you follow these simple tips, when tax-time rolls around again, you will be less stressed. With no disorganization and chaos to deal with, come tax-time you will save time and tax-time will become less taxing!
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