Tax season is upon us, and as you sit down to fill out your 2015 return, you may find yourself scrambling to track down all of those receipts, W2s and other important documents.

Having an organized filing system is critical -- and easy!

Here are 4 ways to stay organized, so you can have everything you need to maximize that return!




1. Toss the ATM receipts and paper statements

Once your deposits have been made, you'll be able to access your account information electronically. All of your year-end info is available online -- so those misc bank receipts are just cluttering up your desk, car, wallet, etc.

2. Keep a "tax return" file on your desk -- and desktop

For paper receipts, tax forms and other misc tax deductions (that Goodwill receipt, the bill for your new work laptop), have a file handy on your desk. For the electronic statements, student loan docs, etc, keep an electronic file on your desktop that you can easily drop important documents into.

3. Hang on to old tax returns

The Internal Revenue Service has up to three years from the date you file your tax return to examine it for errors and as long as six years to conduct an audit if there's reason to suspect you underreported your gross income by 25 percent or more. Depending on how straightforward your tax situation is, plan on keeping tax returns for 3-7 years.

Plus -- if you are applying for a mortgage loan, college assistance or even financial aid for a medical bill, you'lll need those old returns.


4. Have a system

Put a "catch-all" basket on your desk for the misc mail that comes during the week. Then, every weekend, sit down and go through these documents. File papers that need to be kept, pay bills that need to be paid -- and toss junk that isn't needed!


By having important documents in organized, easy-to-access places, you'll breeze through your 2015 tax return -- and have everything you need to get a great check from Uncle Sam!

Sources: Real Simple, 5 steps to simpler record-keeping | IRS.gov, Recordkeeping

Photo credit: Philip Taylor, Filing Taxes - 1040 Form.


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