4 Spring Cleaning Tips to Help You File Your Taxes Next Year

As you begin your annual spring cleaning ritual, consider going beyond weeding the yard and moving furniture in search of dust-mite filled corners; this year, clean up your financial and tax affairs.

Here are four tips to spring-clean your financial and tax affairs:

1. Create a Current Year Tax File. Whenever you receive a document that you know you’ll need next year when you do your taxes, shove it in your brand new current year tax file.

Examples include charitable donation receipts, car registration bills, real estate tax invoices, and the like.

Don’t forget to use TurboTax ItsDeductible to help you easily track and value your donated items.

As time passes, remembering what you contributed and what it was worth becomes much more difficult.

2. Set up a Tracking System. Many people choose a personal financial software program, such as Quicken, to help monitor their spending and saving.

A great side benefit of such an application is its ability to help you quickly retrieve valuable information when you go to file your tax return next year.

Using personal finance software may be an investment of time when you set it up, but it has the ability to save you a tremendous amount of time later on. Furthermore, what you learn about your personal finance habits has the potential to turn your money life around. Taken together, that’s not a bad combination.

3. Make sure your account information is accurate. Do you receive all of your statements and electronic communications? Double-check to ensure that both your email address and your mailing address are on file correctly.

Did you have unexpected withholding on the interest you earned from a bank or dividends paid from a mutual fund? Make sure each has your social security number on file.

4. Put your tax return file where you can easily find it next year. If you use TurboTax, make sure you save your electronic file in a place where you can easily find it. Doing so will make your tax preparation that much easier next year.

A simple suggestion: put a note in the Current Year Tax File you set up as part of Tip # 1 indicating where the digital file is.

The more time you spend organizing this spring, the more time—and possibly the more money— you’ll save next year.

Michael Rubin

Author of the bestseller Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck, and the upcoming The Savings Solution, Michael B. Rubin is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional. In addition to his experience providing sophisticated financial advice to affluent clients, Michael has been a key source of information for over a decade to countless others. He speaks passionately about and provides guidance on virtually all personal financial planning topics. Michael has appeared in various media, including radio and TV stations across the country, plus national media such as CNN Money.com, latimes.com, The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney.com, Chicago Tribune, Financial Advisor Magazine, and Investment News. Prior to founding Total Candor LLC, Michael worked in the personal financial services practices of two of the former "Big Six" accounting firms. Subsequently working for several years as a new venture executive for Toys "R" Us, Inc., he made sure that he never actually grew up. He holds an undergraduate business degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Michael lives in New Hampshire with his wife and children.

Comments (9) Leave your comment

  1. I received my Federal tax return check but now I can’t find it. If it is lost what should I do?

  2. I found the IRS code issued in 2010,
    but I changed my address in 2012.
    Was the 2010 code still valid?
    If so do I change something on TurboTax to coordinate same code info
    for prior 2011, 2012, and 2013 years?

  3. Hi ,I am Joseph,
    I am from India.I donate few hundred dollars every month back home .I dont get any receipt for that ,is it tax deductable ?

  4. I was informed that your records show that we didn’t use TurboTax for our filing for 2013. This is totally incorrect, we have used TurboTax every year for the last 4 or 5 years.
    Please correct your records and send me confirmation that you done so. I don’t want the surprise next tax season of being told you don’t have my tax records.
    Thank you.
    Loren Frank

  5. I have heard that medical deductions will not be allowed in 2014. Is this true? Also, will all of my charitable donations be deductible this year? Thanks! BTW, I’ve been using TurboTax for the last several years.

    • Hi Brenda,
      No that is not true. If you itemize your deductions you can deduct your medical bills. The only change is that your medical bills have to exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income instead of 7.5%(unless you are 65 and over). If you itemize your deductions you should be able to deduct your charitable deductions. If your adjusted gross income is over $250,000 if you’re single and $300,000 if married filing jointly then your donation deductions may be limited.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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