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How to Stay On Top of Your Taxes For Next Year

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    You have an extra day this year to get your tax documents filed. Hopefully you're not still scrambling to get them buttoned up! Once you've signed off on your returns, there are some tweaks you should make to your filing system to keep things current. Here are some suggestions.

    • It's important to keep your most current tax return in your file system for easy access in case you need it for anything. You should still have your 2010 return handy, so now you can replace it with the new 2011 return.

    • Any of the back up data for your returns can be archived. This means that documents pertaining to your tax return do not need to be kept as accessible. We often suggest that our clients file bills etc. chronologically, this way, you can archive a box for each year and keep your tax documentation and any other applicable papers in that box. 

    • Check out the Chaos To Order retention document for some general guidelines on how long to keep certain papers. It's always a good idea to check with your accountant based on your particular needs when it comes to knowing how long to keep any important papers.

    • If you keep boxes in chronological order in long term storage, now is the time to toss one old box. For example, if you keep 7 years, when you add the 2011 box, you can shred the 2004 box. Just make sure you pull out the permanent paper keepers like your tax return, property documents etc…

    • While you're in the mode of getting these important papers in order, it might also be a good time to go through other office files and do some editing so you can make room for more 2012 incoming ahead.

    Monica Friel is president and founder of Chaos To Order -- the Chicago area's premiere organizing company since 1990. Friel manages and trains a staff of professional organizers who specialize in everything from household clutter to corporate chaos.