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How to keep your important documents organised for tax time

by Chloe Baird

Whether you’re storing your documents in a physical filing system, or on your computer, there are tips and tricks you can use to streamline this system. The last thing you want to be doing come tax time is struggling to find a misplaced document or invoice simply because you didn’t file it properly!  

Check out our top tips for small business owners and individuals alike for keeping your important files organised in preparation for tax time.  

Tips for keeping your files organised if you’re a small business owner

Running your own small business is no small task. And on top of all your other responsibilities and tasks, you need to make sure that you stay on top of your finances. This is paramount, and it’s also very important to keep your personal expenses separated from your business finances.  

Managing your small business’s finances doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. It can be simple, easy and straightforward, so long as you’re organised.  

You can also read about our blog on Accounting and Bookkeeping tips for small business owners.

1. Develop and maintain an easy-to-use system

This is especially important if other people are also going to be using this system. You don’t want your filing system to be a cause for stress!  

You can easily categorise your business documents into such categories as, income, expenses, and tax. You can organise these files any which way you want – with a colour-coded system, alphabetically, by date, or any other way you find works best for you. Just make sure that it will make sense to other people who also need to use this filing system.   

Once you have something to file, it’s just a simple matter of placing it in the correct file.  

For old files that you don’t need right now, but may in the future, you can store them in a file box. You don’t even need to keep them on site – you can save space by storing them in a storage centre.  

If your current filing system is a bit of a shambles, now is the time to clean it up! 

2. Invest in Accounting software  

While it’s good to keep hard copies of your important documents, it’s also a good idea to back them up. 

Accounting software like QuickBooks and Wave Accounting can help you manage your important files ready for tax time. You can store everything in one place, which means it will be easy to find and access. Software like Wave Accounting won’t even cost you anything – it’s free to use. 

3.  Prepare in advance for EOFY

Don’t leave it to the last minute – start preparing for the EOFY in advance so you’re not running around like crazy on June 30th trying to get everything done.  

Make sure you have all the right information you need before the end of financial year, and if you’re not 100% certain of what you need, make an appointment to see your Accountant.  

Tips for keeping your personal files organised

One of the best things about tax time is looking forward to a tax refund (if you’re entitled, of course!). So if you want to make the process of filing your tax as painless as possible, follow our top 3 simple tips for organising your personal files ready for tax time.  

1. Keep your physical files together in a place where they’re easy to access

Don’t chuck them in a box under the house or up in the attic. Place them somewhere you won’t forget them, and make sure it’s free of damp and mould. This way, you won’t be scrambling trying to find them come tax time, and it will be easier to add new documents to your collection, instead of just tossing them in a drawer where they could get forgotten.

2. Separate your documents into different categories

If you don’t keep your documents separated properly, then you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for when you need it – simple as that! Use a system that works for you; labelling with different colours, numbers or different names can help you differentiate different categories. Make different categories for receipts, deductible donations, work-related expenses, educational courses, and so on.  

3. Keep things neat and tidy

If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to back up your most important documents onto your computer or a cloud. It’s also a good way to cut down on paper if you’re the kind of person who prefers soft over hard copies. But be sure to have some security measures in place just in case your computer crashes, and make sure to label everything appropriately.  

What’s the number one rule for tax time?

The most important thing you can do while organising your important tax documents is not to stress out about it. While it may seem like a daunting task for some, once you’ve got everything under control and neatly organised just the way you like it, you’ll feel much better! And once June 30th rolls around, you’ll have to give your past-self a pat on the back for being so thoughtful and organised and saving you so much time and effort! Plus, your Accountant will love you for being so organised.  

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful in getting you ready for tax time! And don’t forget to check out the ATO’s website for any further questions you have about filing your tax.  

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