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Systems for Business Paper Management
Task: Collect documents for taxes
Romans 13:6-7 “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
If you are one of those who can’t seem to get papers into a file, don’t panic because you need to get your papers for tax purposes. Here’s a simple system to handle paper clutter this year and to continue for many more. This system is suited for owners who travel to business appointments in their vehicles.
Everyone thinks differently about handling paper. Ask yourself what you dislike most about paper management. Is it the filing? Is it the difficulty of deciding what to label the file? Is it a time issue? Are you overwhelmed with the volume of papers you need to handle? Do you find receipts on your dashboard, in your pants pockets after they have been laundered, or stuff in your wallet? Determine what the blockage is before you proceed.
Place a container that you can close in your vehicle to place all your invoices and receipts. Your papers won’t get dropped on the floor, fly out the window or get drenched from the soda you accidentally spilled. To be even more organized and save you more time, carry an expandable file. This way you can slip the piece of paper right into the proper slot immediately. Label them gas, postage, supplies, etc., (in alphabetical order, of course). This list should match the Schedule C, 1099 MISC IRS form. That really simplifies what paper goes under each category.
When you arrive back at your office/home office, simply enter the information into your spreadsheet, QuickBooks or whatever software you are using. Depending on your volume of papers, you may want to transfer the papers to larger files in your file cabinet with the identical labels. Then there is no confusion. If you are not a detailed person or very busy, seriously consider hiring an assistant. Pass along all your receipts to your bookkeeper once a week to accurately enter your files and ledger. Outsourcing or delegating tasks that consume your time helps increase your productivity.
Not all your records will be hard copy. Some will be electronic. Print a copy of the receipt and other documents and place in the appropriate file. You can also create files in your email, cloud or an app to store records
Remember to keep good records of your mileage. Some people can deduct the expenses of an in-home office. Follow the IRS guidelines carefully. Every little bit helps to reduce your tax burden. At the end of the year, all your documentation is together. Your amounts are entered and preparing your taxes is simplified.
Written by: Kathy Meckley, Transforming Spaces