It is never too early to start thinking about tax season. Before you start groaning, keep this in mind: taking a little time to think about what you can do now will have you feeling more relaxed once tax season arrives. Digital tools can help you get organized, reduce stress and make your overall financial management less daunting.
If your idea of keeping good tax records involves an overflowing desk drawer, take heart. Going digital can make planning easier, reduce the likelihood of errors and perhaps even save you money. These tips can help ensure that everything you need is at your fingertips.
Designate a secure location to keep documents in one place
Avoid a last minute scramble for misplaced papers by gathering your documents into one secure digital location. Not only will you reduce paper clutter, but also be able to locate everything quickly during tax season – from mileage logs to charity receipts.
Store previous tax returns and supporting documents digitally for easier access
You never know when you may need to retrieve a copy of your tax return when applying for a home loan or financial aid. You can also use your tax return as a helpful guide for next year’s return.
Scan and save important receipts immediately
Avoid hours wasted searching for old receipts. Use your smartphone to photograph the ones you know you need to keep — then email them to yourself to store digitally. Or, use an app like Expensify to simplify receipt tracking.
Scan and store tax documents as soon as you receive them
As tax-related statements, such as W2s, 1099s and forms related to mortgage interest, charitable donations or higher education start to arrive in the mail, scan and save them.
Create digital folders for specific categories
Use folders to file and organize your receipts and supporting documents quickly and easily, especially if you itemize deductions or are self-employed.
With everything in one place you can rest assured that you’ll be able to keep track of the tax-related statements you receive — and find the tax documents you need when you need them.
As you begin your tax planning, remember Fifth Third Bank’s Life360 platform provides complimentary tools and resources that let you stay connected to your financial information, from anywhere.