Getting organized is something most of us continually strive to do better. It's even more difficult when you're getting input via snail mail, email and all sorts of social media communications along with smart phones and … yes, we still talk to people face-to-face. What happened to the idea that technology would simplify our lives?
It seems like we're being deluged with more information which needs to be sorted and organized. When it comes to organizing, there are two types of people. There are people who love to organize and people who do not. In either case, one of the biggest dilemmas people face in the paperwork realm is what to save and what to throw away. With paperless statements and e-Pay, its more challenging to sort this out.
…… by Barbara Whipple, owner of Perfectly Organized LLC
Paperwork Guidelines To Satisfy Tax Filing Requirements.
You've got lots of paperwork and too little space to store it all and there's never enough time to get organized at home. These tips are meant to help you pare down the paperwork you're never going to need like tax returns for 20 and 30 years. The more paper you can discard, the easier it will be to find the papers you need.
Tax Return Copies
Tax returns should be saved for years after filing. However, they take up such a small amount of filing space and can be an invaluable resource so I suggest keeping them longer if you have the space. Trying to recreate this information for whatever reason would be a nightmare.
Individual Credit Card Receipts
Keep these receipts until you've determined you will not be returning the product and/or you have received your monthly statement and confirmed its' purchase. Keep monthly credit card statements for seven years if there are tax related expenses or three years if there are none. An exception to this rule would be if you purchase any high-end item such as a stove that may have a warranty. Just staple the receipt to the product warranty and file it in a warranty folder for easy recovery.
Keep your paycheck stubs until you have received your annual W-2 form from your employer. Make sure the information matches. If it does, you can throw the stubs out. If not, request a corrected form called a W-2C.
Bank Deposit Slips and ATM Receipts
You want to keep these until you receive your monthly statement and insure that everything matches. Throw the individual receipts away and keep your monthly statements until you get your annual statement. Once you have reconciled the monthly statements against the annual statement, you can throw the monthly paperwork away.
Legal documents like birth certificates, diplomas, marriage and divorce documents, baptism records and passports should be kept forever. A small water proof safe or safe deposit box is advisable. It also better to keep photocopies of these documents readily available and only take these copies out of your home.
Financial documents like medical bills, form 1099s, Keogh statements, IRA records, loan records, insurance policies and the like should be kept for at least 7 years AFTER their respective termination, payoff and/or expiration.
When in doubt, check with your accountant. Happy tossing!
Please share how you keep your paperwork under control at home (leave comments below) …
Barbara Whipple is the owner of Perfectly Organized LLC and a member of 4 Walls 1 Roof. As a professional organizer, Barbara enjoys “improving people's lives, one pile at a time.” She works with individuals, families and small businesses to help them organize within their existing space and specializes in downsizing and relocation services for people in transition.