An Easy Way to Gather Tax Information



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It’s tax time!  Unfortunately that means a lot of work for most of us as we gather our tax information and actually do our taxes.

But it doesn’t have to be a chore.  Years ago I discovered a method for gathering tax information that has worked really, really well for me.  It’s simple and effective – almost effortless.

All you need is a file folder.  Label the tab with the tax year.  On the front of the file, start listing all the information you need in order to do your taxes.  You can write it on there any way you want to – there’s no right or wrong way.

Tax Folder

Then put the file folder in a visible location.  I put mine on my desk next to my computer.

Tax Folder

As the information starts rolling in, I record it on the file folder and put the supporting documents in the file.  A checkmark next to the item means the supporting document is in the file (some of the supporting documents are on-line).

A week or so before I’m ready to do the taxes, I check the folder and track down any information I haven’t received or completed (like our business accounting – no one sends that to me – I have to do it myself!).

When I’m ready to actually sit down and do the taxes, everything is there!

The biggest benefit to this system is that next year I pull out the previous year’s folder and copy the information onto the new folder.  The only way it could be any easier would be if someone else did it all for me!

How do you gather your tax information?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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7 thoughts on “An Easy Way to Gather Tax Information

  1. Patty,
    You once again have taught me something to help my life run easier. Tax time is no fun and now it is worse since we have a business! I will start doing this right away!
    Thanks for the great ideas!!!

  2. I use a filing system called Filing Solutions. You can find it online or buy it at the Container Store (my local one has the book out so you can look through it; that’s the reason I bought it). It has four categories of printed labels that can be used for file folders or hanging folders. They’re color coded (red, blue, green, and purple), so all you do is color code the folders, set up the files you need, and then just file. They have one for Current Tax Year, so it’s easy to just drop paperwork in over the course of the year (i.e., you make a donation to charity in January, drop the receipt in). The files are numbered so if you remove one, it’s easy to figure out where to put it back again. They also have a file list and instructions on what goes in the folders.

    When I first got it, it looked really intimidating to set it up. Once I got started, I zoomed right through it and suddenly I could find everything.

    1. I’ll check it out. It sounds especially worth looking at since you said “suddenly I could find everything.” Wow! That’s what I need.

  3. Although my husband and I are retired, I manage a single-truck trucking company while its owner/driver is away from home. For personal taxes, I use one file folder in my rolling file and drop receipts and such in there that pertain to our federal and state taxes.
    The business items have to be handled in a way that allows me to determine income versus expense for the payment of quarterly taxes, and more. It’s complicated! I have a filing system for this and I created the system based on what is required to complete the federal Schedule C. and from prior year tax returns and the backup documentation. It all goes into Quicken and I can print out reports for the owner. I do not prepare the final returns, so I send all of the reports to the CPA. I push paper and dealing with receipts is just part of the job. Okay, so I am nuts, but I really like what I do! LOL.

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