Typically I like to share my secrets to help you get organized, but this time, I decided to bring in the big guns and get some advice from the experts.
1. Keep a folder/accordion file labeled “Taxes”. Create a file where you can store anything tax related. (ie: when you pay your real estate taxes drop the receipt in your tax folder, drop the receipt from the doctor’s office in the folder, receipt from a charitable donation.)
2. Use Excel. Excel is a great way to track your unreimbursed business/medical mileage, donations, out of pocket medical expenses. Once you set up the initial spreadsheets you can utilize the same sheets year after year.
3. Don’t short change yourself. Remember to include information pertaining to HSA contributions/disbursements, 529 plan contributions/disbursements, and dependent care information.
4. Home sales and purchases. If you purchased a home, sold a home, refinanced be sure to include the HUD statement and 1099-S (if one was issued for the sale.) *we sold a property last year and received a reimbursement that we otherwise would not have gotten.
5. Security Information. If you sold securities and the cost basis is not provided on the 1099-B you or your accountant will need to know when you originally bought the security and what you paid for it. So keep a file for all investments that you can refer to.
Whether you pay your taxes yourself or seek the expertise of an Accountant, having an easy to follow system inevitably saves you time, money and stress in the long run.