Have you ever looked for a bill or a receipt and couldn’t find it anywhere? Then you remember you have a stack of unfiled papers that you stuck in some random place so you could file them later. Sometimes it seems like no matter how hard you try to keep things organized you still find you have a stack of financial clutter laying around somewhere. Fortunately, there are ways to help you organize those piles of important documents. Here are some helpful hints.
A dedicated spot. Set up an area to pay bills, balance your checkbook, etc. It may be helpful if your computer and filing cabinet is close by. Choose a day and time to pay bills and enter any financial records in your computer. Then file those documents when your task is completed.
Organize files. A lot of people scan documents to a computer program to help organize and keep track of business documents and expenses while others prefer having hard copies on hand. The important thing is to have a system that makes it easier for you to maintain and organize your financial documents with little effort.
Protect important documents. Be sure to protect documents such as; emergency contacts, tax returns, wills, and stock certificates in a fire and waterproof box, as home safe, or a safe deposit box at the bank. It’s a good idea to ask your attorney or financial advisor to keep a signed copy of your will and other documents in a secure location.
Shred old documents. Don’t hang on to old paid bills or outdated documents. Generally, tax returns and supporting documents should be kept for seven years. You should also keep documents supporting the cost of investments and real estate for tax purposes. When you are ready to dispose of old documents don’t just throw them in the trash, use a shredder or weather permitting, let them warm you up in the fire place or outside in the fire pit.
If you’re not sure which documents to keep or toss contact our office at (260) 497-9761 for more tips. Or visit our website summitcpa.net to check out our multiple help resources.