How to Organize for Tax Time

If you are not organized for preparing your 2017 taxes, well, you are not alone. Is anyone ever really ready to file their taxes?  Even though it happens at the same time every year, tax time still sneaks up on me. The good news is, that with a few simple supplies, the first few weeks of April don’t have to be such a scramble.  


Here’s my list of simple supplies that can help organize your tax prep. This is one case where the simplest solution is also the best solution. There’s nothing fancy in this list, but taking a few minutes now to assemble these items and designate a home for them can make all the difference come April 14, 15 or 16th! 

I’ve compiled a list of supplies, AND a basic list of documents that must be kept. Do you have your shoebox ready? You may need it! 

And here is the best news- April 15th is a Sunday this year, so you will have until Tuesday the 17th to get them postmarked.


File folders: boxed bottom and expandable (just one is fine!)

Manilla file folders


Pencil and eraser

Lined pad to tab your expenses by category.

Turbotax or your neighborhood accountant

Let’s put this must-have task list together (albeit dismal), so you can get this done.  This list isn’t exhaustive, but it includes the most common documents you will need to claim deductions and complete your taxes.  

1.Incoming mail: anything labeled Important Tax Document. You need these, save them, they are crucial for filing your returns accurately. Look for these to arrive in January’s mail: wage statements, year-end bank statements and loan and mortgage statements.

2.Receipts, not always the usual proof of purchase kinds. These include donation receipts and paid house tax receipts.

 3. Medical/Dental Bills- remember those prescription receipts and the co-pays to the Dr. These all count……and should be kept all the year long. And if there is a new baby in your household, you will need those Dr. expenses as well.

4. Employment-Related Expenses. Travel expenses that were not reimbursed? If you aren’t using an app like Mile-IQ, you need the hard copy of your mileage trackers. 

5. Have babies? You will need your daycare annual statement. I’m sorry to report that puppy daycare is not tax deductible.

6. 529 education savings plan, you need to track those contributions

7. Homeowner mortgage statement

8. Investment Statements- these year-end statements might be online if not in the mail. You must report the gains and losses.

9. Energy Saving expenses- a new water heater? new windows? Insulation or solar panels? These can get written off with the receipts.

10. Previous years tax return. Remember, by law, you must keep seven years of tax records. When the new tax season rolls around, shred the oldest year to make room for the new file.

11. Plenty of quiet time, to organize it all!  And once it is done, it is done.