Happy Thursday, everyone! Tax season is finally over! For all of those accountants out there, everything looks a little brighter – the sun is brighter and the birds’ song is a little prettier than it was a couple weeks ago. All filers can now breathe a sigh of relief. Either your taxes are filed and finished, or you filed for an extension and have until October to get your taxes completed. Either way, you can finally breathe!

If getting all of your tax documents and paperwork was stressful and a chore this year, think about making taxes part of your “spring cleaning” efforts. This is the time of year when everyone tries to organize, purge, and clean. Why not include tax organization in these efforts? You’ll thank yourself next year.Electronically File

Obviously, you aren’t going to have a lot of tax data since it’s only April. But you can set up an organization system that can save you a ton of time months down the road. First, decide HOW you want to organize – electronically or the old tried and true paper method.

If you’re like me and the many other dinosaurs still out there, you use the paper method and save all original documents. I just like having the safety net of having the actual hard copies in case something were to happen to my electronic files. Anyway, if you keep all of your paperwork, instead of throwing it into one mass pile, consider breaking it down into categories and setting up files for each of them. Here’s what I mean. Once you go to the doctor or get a prescription filled, go ahead and create a medical file and start organizing all of your medical expense documents in chronological order. It won’t be that difficult since you likely only have a small number of papers since it’s only April. Once you have that folder set up, all you have to do when you get receipts in the months to come is put them in the folder. When tax season rolls around next year, there’s no organizing necessary since it’s already done!

You can create folders like this for all of your tax documents – mortgage interest, charitable giving, retirement account contributions, etc. Choose one day each week and file any and all receipts into the appropriate folders. When the corresponding tax forms come in the mail come the end of this year or the beginning of 2019, you can just add them to the folder and drop them off to your accountant. Everything he or she needs is in those files and you don’t have the headache of wading through a year’s worth of paperwork and receipts and trying to remember the details of the what, when, and why.

If you’re a business owner, you can use the same method to track all of your business expenses. Go ahead and create separate folders for all of your business expenses – gas, repairs and maintenance, vehicle expenses, etc. This was, you won’t miss any expenses because you misplaced the receipt and you won’t spend hours trying to file stacks of receipts after the year ends. Again, choose a day each week and set aside thirty minutes to an hour and file any receipts you’ve accumulated over the week into the appropriate folders.

If you choose to file your receipts digitally, choose one day each week, scan them into your computer, and organize them into digital files. As a word of caution, make sure to save your files to more than one location as a safety measure. You may want to save them to a couple of flash drives which you can store in a couple safe locations (safety deposit box, fireproof safe, etc.). You may also choose to keep a hanging fileshardcopy back up of those files in a file cabinet as well.

By staying organized throughout the year, you can avoid that panic that plagues some people when tax season approaches. Tax season is never a fun time of year, so you might as well make it as easy on yourself as you can. By taking a few minutes each week and keeping up on things, you can avoid hours of headache and frustration later on.

If you have any financial or tax related questions, Wealth Builders can help! We are a full service tax firm, but we offer so much more – bookkeeping services, general accounting services for businesses, investment services for businesses and individuals and more! If you have a financial question, we can answer it! Give our office a call today and schedule your free consultation with one of our friendly and experienced team members.

Don’t miss a thing! Follow Wealth Builders on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for all things financial! If you haven’t already, sign up for our free quarterly newsletter and weekly “Tax Tips” email. Both are full of helpful tips and advice to help you reduce your tax liability and increase your cash flows. That means more money in YOUR pocket. Who wouldn’t want that?! Sign up today !