Organize This: Tax Documents

This is an idea that I came up with a few years ago. It started out of convenience. I had an empty accordion file sitting unused since my college days; why not put it to use storing tax documents? The more I thought about it, the more I realized how perfect it was. Not only is all my tax information in one place and easy to transport (especially helpful since my first year filing I used my dad as a resource, and also if I would ever need to pay an accountant or firm to help me file in the future if my return gets more complicated), but there are typically 7 slots in an accordion file, or in other words, space to store 7 years of tax documents. Since you are only required to keep tax documents for 7 years, that couldn’t be more perfect. Once I run out of space, it’s a very easy and visual reminder that it’s time to shred.

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I recently “upgraded” to a pretty accordion file (the Martha Stewart line at Staples) and even attached one of her adhesive bookplates so I could label the front of it. Inside are 7 slots, and I stick a manila folder in each slot and label the year. As I get tax-related documents I can easily file them in the folder and then everything’s all together when I’m ready to sit down and complete my tax return.

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The inside is not quite pretty yet, but switching out the basic manila folders for some patterned ones and/or making the labels consistent (i.e. not a mix of label tape and handwriting) would easily solve that.

Hope that helps you get a bit more organized for tax season this year!

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