Organising at Tax Time

June 19, 2012 by  Filed under: Taxes 

Ideally, the best time to prepare for tax time is the day after you complete your tax return. This means staying on top of everything for the entire year beforehand, so you aren’t left with the messy problems at the end. If you are stressed about this year’s tax return, you may use this as a learning tool to prepare for next year.

Develop and Simplify Systems

One of the most important factors of creating an organisation system is that it needs to be easy to use. If you have failed to keep your paperwork up to date, it could be because your system is either difficult to use, or it takes too much time.

The choice of system needs to suit you. Some people prefer paper records, others like to keep everything stored on their computer. Here are some options you might consider for keeping your records in order.

  • Organising Receipts – Collect receipts in a large envelope or accordion file. At the end of each month label it, and start a new envelope or section for the following month.
  • Banking – Keep your business and personal banking and expenses separate. Also consider how many accounts you already have to keep track of. Do you need them all?
  • Reduce Your Suppliers – Purchasing multiple items from a single supplier will reduce paperwork.
  • For Paper Records – Use highlighters and sticky notes to keep track of important entries. Attach notes to your documents, so you can see the important information later when you need to access something quickly.

Maintain Your Records

  • Keep your records maintained throughout the year. Here are some useful solutions to make the process easier:
  • Set aside time each week or month to complete your finances. Create a summary of figures. At the end of the year, all you’ll need to do is read back on the summaries.
  • Keep a log book in your car, or in your bag or briefcase for easy access.
  • Use online banking and/or a specific computer program such as Xero or MYOB. There are many computer systems designed for maintaining your financial records, but ensure you use a program that is suited to your own unique needs.

Hire a Professional

Time is money and even if you don’t have a large income, it may be more cost effective to hire a professional than try to address your tax concerns by yourself. Consider the time and mental cost of sorting through your own messy records if you haven’t kept things in order. How much is it worth to ensure that you receive professional advice and can you actually put a price on this? A range of professionals can assist you in getting everything ready on time this year and staying organised for next year.

  • A Bookkeeper will assist with sorting through paperwork, data entry, and organising everything before you give it to your accountant.
  • An Accountant will help you with the final tax return and offer you professional advice.
  • A Professional Organiser will help you get and stay organised, and plan ahead for the next year. They can help you develop and maintain new systems, so you are always on track with your finances.

Marie Quak is a Professional Organiser and the owner of Ducks in a Row Professional Organising in Sydney, Australia. For more organising tips, and to find out more about Marie and Ducks in a Row Professional Organising, visit

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