In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents | TigerDroppings.com

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RickAstley
LSU Fan
Reno, Nevada
Member since May 2011
1600 posts

In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


Can anyone enlighten me on how you organize your tax related information?

After emptying out a bottle of Tylenol while completing my tax returns, I have identified a need for organizing all of my papers on a yearly basis. I am not as interested in knowing what storage medium is preferred, as I am more interested in how the documents are organized. The basis I am developing for mine broken down by year, includes categories for W2s, Online Purchase Receipts, and Charitable Contributions. Does this follow similar logic to the MT?







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Breadcrumbs
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since May 2005
2864 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


During the year: I have one big file called Taxes 2013. If I write a check to charity I write it on the inside folder with the date and put the receipt in the folder. If I have a medical expense, I write it on the insider folder and put the receipt in the folder. When my homeowner's dec page comes in, it goes in the tax folder. Any tax item goes in the folder.

I run all my expenses through a bank account and a credit card. They both send me a statement at the end of the year with the whole year's expenses listed by category. I take a highlighter to the relevant tax items and file it in the tax folder. I order a prescription summary from CVS and put it in the folder.

My hubby keeps a separate file folder for rent house repairs and purchases and income.

Next year, I am balancing my bank account and credit card with Quicken so I don't even have go back through my year end statements.

When the W-2, mortgage 1098s and 1099s come in at end of year, they go in the folder.

At tax time: I group them...Income Items/Expense Items. I clip the W-2s and 1099 div/interest income items to the left side of the folder.

Inside the folder goes the expenses in the following order:

I put all our rental income/expenses together. Then I put any itemized deduction expenses together. Lastly, I have daycare receipts, homeowner's dec page, and LA Start contributions.

That's how I turn the sucker in and I still have to chase some document down before its over.

When taxes are done: I file all supporting docs with the copy of the return sorted by year. I've kept every year since we've had a rental because I just know I'm going to need to pull all those one day when we sell.



This post was edited on 3/26 at 2:58 pm


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RickAstley
LSU Fan
Reno, Nevada
Member since May 2011
1600 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


Thanks for the feedback. How long have you been doing this? How often do you need to go back through old returns?





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Breadcrumbs
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since May 2005
2864 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


quote:

How long have you been doing this?


Since 2008. We did our own returns online before we married. I kept the copy on the computer then and didn't keep the supporting docs. When we married we started using a CPA. They print us a copy and I just file it with the supporting docs. I don't even keep a pdf copy even though it is filed online and emailed to us.

quote:

How often do you need to go back through old returns?


Never had to yet. I think you can be audited on 3 years of tax returns, but I just keep them all.






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the LSUSaint
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2009
5209 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


Buy one of those scanners off of the TV commercial. I am very serious. Everyday you walk into the house with receipts or bills or statements, you simply scan them and place it in the organizer's software category. At the end of the year, every single thing is at your fingertips.

Of course, there are many softwares that do this. Just make sure they accept scanned docs.

It will simply change your life for the better, trust me.






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LSUGUMBO
New Orleans Saints Fan
Shreveport, LA
Member since Sep 2005
4795 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


I'm self employed, so mine's probably a little different.

I have an excel spreadsheet with 13 tabs- 1 for every month and 1 for a summary/totals of everything. For each month, I have my gross pay, mileage reimbursement, copies reimbursement, and any expenses that are written off for that month (office supplies, postage, business dinners, etc). The summary tab shows my gross pay, subtracts all reimbursed expenses, and the adjusted gross. Then, all my write offs are listed by company (Office Depot, USPS, etc) and totaled at the bottom. When it's tax time, I print off the summary and hand it to my CPA. I keep the receipts in an expandable folder, and start a new one every year.






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RickAstley
LSU Fan
Reno, Nevada
Member since May 2011
1600 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


This response is for both you and the LSUSaint.

When you guys discuss keeping your receipts, are you talking about for every transaction throughout the year, or ones that will factor into your tax returns at the end of the year? I typically keep all of my transaction receipts until the charges have cleared, and I have placed the information in my budget spreadsheet. But after that I burn/shred everything such as grocery, gas, and restaurant receipts.






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the LSUSaint
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2009
5209 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


I suggest you talk to your tax person for all the expenses you need to keep for your line of work and if you use a home office.

I throw alot of useless receipts away that Im sure wouldn't fly. But I work in a couple of biz catagories where alot of things I can wrote off, you may not be able to.

Example: If I'm a kite designer, I could write off all the new kites I buy as research. But the ordinary person can't write a kite purchase off.

Save em all if you need to, you can always erase em or use them in knowing what you have spent your $$ on. Most softwares or spreadsheets already know which catagories would be consdered expenses.






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LSUGUMBO
New Orleans Saints Fan
Shreveport, LA
Member since Sep 2005
4795 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


Just the ones that I will have to reference/provide in the event of an audit, i.e. expenses I was reimbursed for and expenses that I wrote off.

I can generally limit mine to an envelope size accordion folder that I keep in the top of my closet. I don't keep up with any other receipts.



This post was edited on 3/26 at 7:07 pm


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Poodlebrain
LSU Fan
Way Right of Rex
Member since Jan 2004
14967 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


I tell my clients to buy a box of 24 one gallon ziplock bags. Label two sets of them by month and keep one set in your car and the other in your home. Toss every statement, receipt and other document involving money into one of the bags for the month.

Before each quarterly estimated tax payment is due transfer the information from the documents in the ziplock bags to a spreadsheet that simulates your tax return. If you do this you will be better organized than most.






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yellowfin
Illinois Fan
Coastal Bar
Member since May 2006
67591 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


Every time I close out a year I tell myself I'm going to get more organized...it never happens





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RickAstley
LSU Fan
Reno, Nevada
Member since May 2011
1600 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


I'm determined to make some organizing happen. I've been steadily placing all of my documents I wish to keep in a folder. Once I've gotten everything in the folder, I will start sorting and separating the information to make it more manageable and locatable.





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RickAstley
LSU Fan
Reno, Nevada
Member since May 2011
1600 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


quote:

Before each quarterly estimated tax payment is due transfer the information from the documents in the ziplock bags to a spreadsheet that simulates your tax return.


I haven't thought of that. I have one spreadsheet that I use solely for my budget and tracking my spending. It would be nice to create a tab that simulates the tax return.






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RickAstley
LSU Fan
Reno, Nevada
Member since May 2011
1600 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


This is much more manageable. It is not worth it to me to hold onto every receipt. Seeing that the pile of receipts could fill a large box just after a few months worth of transactions. I've done well keeping an electronic copy of all of my business expenses. I did not keep the hard copy though. I will keep that in mind for any expenses I have this year.





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Zach
LSU Fan
Member since May 2005
62882 posts

re: In the Spirit of Tax Season: Organizing Documents


I throw it in a box. In March I bring the box to my accountant. That's why I never get headaches.







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