As a small business owner, whether you do your own taxes with pencil and paper, use a self-service tax website and software, or work with a professional tax preparer, keeping your tax files organized is important to helping the job get done efficiently and correctly.
You can help to improve your organization by using a document scanner to capture and digitize the important information (like receipts, invoices, and other business documents) you’ll need for tax preparation. Once you have the information digitized, you can store it on your own computer, or on any number of cloud storage sites. Either method will give you easy access to your information without time-consuming paper-shuffling. Don’t forget to keep an active back-up copy of your files to help avoid data loss.
Once you have your critical business information stored electronically, devise an organization system for the hard copy documents that you want to keep. You may find it helpful to organize all documents by date, i.e., all receipts and invoices for a certain month stored together. Or you may have your own custom organizing style that works for you.
Three ways to help you keep hard copy documents organized:
- Instead of using a file folder with open sides, store documents in an oversized envelope that you can close completely.
- Label all of your stored files with easy-to-read, or color-coded labels.
- Keep all of your files together in a dedicated storage drawer or cabinet. That way, when you need to refer to a file, you’ll know exactly where to look.
Whatever style of organization you choose, stick too it year-round, so when next year’s tax deadline is looming, you’re find yourself in a much better position.