Consistent record keeping throughout the year is the key to a stress-free tax season. A quick checkup now, to make sure you are properly assembling and storing all the documents you need, can prevent hours of frustration during tax season.
First, make sure your records storage system is well organized. Whether you store digital records on a computer hard drive, utilize record keeping software, or use old-fashioned paper documents and file folders, make sure everything is labeled in a way that will make sense to you in the future.
Whenever you receive financial information that may be relevant for your tax returns, promptly add it to your files so it will not get lost in your email inbox or a stack of unsorted mail. Here are just a few of the key documents to be on the lookout for throughout the year:
- Records of any charitable contributions
- Records of sales of property that may result in a capital gain or loss
- Records of all expenses related to the operation of a business, self-employment activities, or contract/gig economy work, including home office expenses
- Any notices you receive from the IRS, including Notice 1444, Your Economic Impact Payment
- Any records relating to changes in your employment status, income or family size
- Records of educational expenses for yourself or your dependents, which may qualify for tax deductions or credits
- Records of other dependent care expenses
- Records of healthcare expenses, including insurance premiums if you purchased your plan through an Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) insurance exchange.
Because so many Americans have experienced significant fluctuations in income due to the 2020 COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, you may also wish to perform a year-end paycheck withholding checkup using the IRS Withholding Estimator tool.