Sponsored by Office Depot
Filing your own taxes can be simplified this year by taking an organized approach and making a plan.
This process begins with making sure you have the right tools. Holly Bohn, organizational expert, founder of See Jane Work, has provided the following tips to help you get started.
Step 1: Organize your documents
If you’ve ever filed taxes before, the actual filing process is only half of the battle. It’s important to have a plan in place to stay organized throughout the year. If you don’t have a plan and you’re starting with a mess, take the time to get organized before starting the filing process.
Different types of documents will need to be referenced, so make it easier by trying an accordion folder to separate items by type and year. Upon receiving documents in the mail, rather than finding a temporary spot for them, identify a section in the accordion file, so it can be found quickly when you need to refer to it.
Create a similar plan of action for all of your digital documents, using a USB flash drive to sort documents by type and year by using digital folders on the drive. Then to maintain consistency, print out hard copies of everything and place them in the correct section of your accordion folder. In the case you misplace your USB drive, you’ll still have the hard copies saved.
Keep everything together and in a designated spot in your home or office. Bankers Box® corrugated storage boxes are a sensible and inexpensive solution to store everything securely.
Step 2: Choose the right software
Consider the major pain points of filing: the time, money and effort it takes to complete the process from start to finish. To make your life easier in all three phases, TurboTax offers the ultimate no-brainer solution. Whether you’re a first-time tax payer or a seasoned tax pro, TurboTax® software gives you the tools you need to cut through the clutter and complete your taxes in the fastest, simplest and most organized way possible. You can purchase the software that best suits your needs—Deluxe, Premier or Home & Business—in-store at an Office Depot® or OfficeMax® location or online at OfficeDepot.com.
Step 3: Eliminate items you no longer need
To best be prepared in the event of an audit, always reference IRS guidelines before getting rid of any tax documents (they recommend holding onto documents for a minimum of three years for individual filers). Once you are sure you no longer need a document, there is little need to clutter your home or office with it. Keeping unnecessary documents is the easiest way to disrupt your system of organization.
Establish a tax time tradition of shredding any documents that you no longer need. It will help keep you organized and, more importantly, will help protect you against identity fraud. I recommend buying your own shredder, but if that’s not an option right now, you can print this coupon and bring it to an Office Depot® or OfficeMax® retail location for five pounds of free bulk bin shredding now through April 23.
By using this simple three-step plan to get organized, buy the right software and clean out unnecessary documents, you will be on your way to a simpler, faster tax filing process for 2016.