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Taking Control During Tax Season

Taking Control During Tax Season

Posted by Rachel Crippin Clark on 7th Mar 2024

If you’re like millions of Americans, tax time can generate feelings of dread and angst. Some of this has to do with the financial implications. But much of it has to do with the process of locating all the necessary information from the past year. There’s piles of papers or online records to comb through, calls to track down the things you can’t find, and scans or copies to make.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

Like any good organizing project, the key to a smoother tax time is 1) having a good system, 2) having the right tools, and 3) keeping up with it throughout the year.

If you’re grumbling about the state of your tax records this year, here are some tips and tools from us at TRINITY. (Bonus: These hold true whether you handle taxes yourself or have a professional file for you, and whether you have a dedicated home office or are multi-tasking in your space.)

The System

It all starts with a system. But don’t be afraid – this doesn’t mean you need expensive software or hundreds of color-coded folders.

It’s just a matter of having a “home” for everything you need for your personal situation come tax time. Whether it’s charitable donations, healthcare expenses or interest income, you need a place to easily store these records as you make, pay or receive them throughout the year.

It doesn’t matter if those homes are computer files or file folders, envelopes or baskets…as long as you have the space and they’re easy to access. If you’ve got a lot of hard copy receipts or papers, you may want to consider scanning these into your computer. But it’s always a good idea to have a back-up – whether that’s in the cloud, on an external hard drive, or physical copies that get stored elsewhere.

Keeping Up

It doesn’t end with setting up a system…unfortunately, you do have to keep up with it. That can mean sitting down periodically to make sure records are added to tax files…or simply adding things as they come in.

Some people like to have one big file where they can easily toss papers as they come in, and then they sit down and sort/scan/file them into permanent homes once per month or quarter.

Note: Many people get stuck because the records we need for taxes are ones we often need for other reasons. (E.g., a doctor’s bill you also want to save in your medical files.) Having a system for making sure that record gets in both places from the beginning makes it less likely you’ll lose track of it at tax time; you’ll save time and energy then too.

The Right Tools

And finally, the right tools are important to setting yourself up for success. That means having a place where you can store all your physical records, as well as any necessary supplies such as file folders, paper clips or a receipt scanner.

If you don’t have a place like this, consider a small shelving piece such as TRINITY’s 3-tier slat shelving. The middle shelf can be adjusted to fit your needs, and the dark bronze finish adds an attractive touch.

Our new metal carts also look great in offices, but can be used in any room in your house…and can easily rolled to where you sit down to do your financial work. We also offer metal carts with removable bamboo tops for an elevated appearance. (PS Our powder-coated products require no solvents in their formulation, so we’re helping to protect the ozone layer and our production workers’ health.)

If you need some extra workspace to spread out on, we also offer work tables that are 48 inches and 72 inches long. These tables are sturdy, and the height can be adjusted for standing or sitting workspaces.

Have questions about what records you should be keeping and for how long? A certified tax professional can clear it up.