Organising your paperwork for tax time can be a time-consuming and stressful at the best of times. But it’s a hundred times worse when your tax documents and receipts are scattered all over the place and in no logical order. So we have put together some tax time tips to help get you organised.
If you are still using the old shoe box storage system or if you have got receipts shoved in your wallet or worse still you have got no idea where they are, then it’s time to review your home office filing system.
Having a well-organised tax record filing system is the key to making the process a whole lot simpler, quicker and hassle-free.
Here’s our 8 tips to help get you organised.
1. Set up a filing system
Systems don’t need to be expensive or complicated. A 2-ring binder folder, simple colour-coded manila folders or a concertina file will work if you don’t have a filing cabinet.
2. Understand what you can claim
It’s a good idea to talk to a tax professional and get an idea of what expenses you can claim. This is especially important now if you’re working arrangements have changed (and let’s be honest, nearly all of us have had changed working arrangements in the last 12 months).
Have you purchased equipment so you can work from home – a laptop, desk items, stationery etc.? Find out what you can claim and ensure you have the receipts to prove it.
For more detailed information on what you may be able to claim, check with the ATO.
3. Organising for Tax Time – Decide on your categories
Possible income and expense categories might include:
- PAYG Payment Summaries from your employers
- Interest earned on all bank accounts
- Dividends received on any shares you own
- Distributions paid from Trusts or Partnerships
- Rental income on your rental properties
- Working from home expenses.
- Work car related expenses
- Work travel related expenses
- Other work related expenses, such as printing, subscriptions, stationery. Do note that they must relate specifically to your employment.
- Education/professional development expenses
- Cost of managing your tax affairs, ie your accountant’s fee for preparing your tax return
4. Collect all the paperwork scattered around the house
You know the ones that have been put in your car, shoved in your wallet, your jacket pocket, in your bedside table or some other random spot.
5. Just do it – Once
Papers don’t file themselves. Set time aside to do this. The best option is to file an item away as soon as you receive it. If you cannot do that, set aside a few minutes each week or month to do this. Perhaps make the last day of each month the day when you will do this. Then, you will avoid a big pile of paperwork and emails to file at the end of tax time.
6. Go Digital – Tax Time Tip
Don’t want papers and files sitting around. Then perhaps its time to go digital. Create folders on your computer and in your inbox so you can file electronic receipts, invoices, bank statements and other digital tax-related documents in the appropriate folders as soon as you receive them.
There are some great apps and online programs like Xero or Myob if you need something more specialised.
7. The problem with paper
Apart from the clutter that it causes, the other issues with paper records is that once they’re gone, they’re gone. Paper receipts fade and accidents happen. The best way to store receipts these days is electronically. Take a photo and keep it on your phone or laptop or get an app to keep all your receipts in the cloud. Just make sure you set up an online filing and file it logically, so you can find it.
8. Book that appointment
Now that your organising for Tax Time is done and all your paperwork is organised logically in one spot, it won’t take long to pull it all together. So book that appointment with your accountant and get your tax done. And hopefully, now that you have all your receipts together, you might get a nice refund too.
Running A Business From Home
Running a business from home and need some extra support, setting up XERO or Myob, imputing data or lodging your BAS statements. We work with a great company who can manage all your accounting requirements. Just contact us for more information about them.
Need some help organising your paperwork for tax time? Then contact us. We love organising paperwork and home offices.