>How to Organize your Files: Part One

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I am a true believer that if your home, purse, wallet, or car is cluttered with ‘stuff’ then your mind is cluttered and cannot possibly unwind, relax, and release. It cannot fully be utilized because it has too many things of irrelevance that it is focusing on. I’m not sure about you but I just don’t sleep well if my room is not neat and tidy. Yes, I will on occasion have a couple of garments on my bed or even my dresser that I have not taken the time to put away….

I’m referring to actual clutter…piles of things on your floor, chair, dresser, night stands, bathroom countertops, etc. that are only there because you are just too lazy to put them in their proper place. You may use the excuse that you are “too tired” but you will exert enough energy to sit in your bed and watch television, talk on the phone, or read a book (all but the latter you could do while cleaning up).

 

Does your kitchen, bedroom, guest room, or home office look like you are on the verge of being accepted on the television show “Hoarders”? Do you find yourself holding on to every receipt, statement, bill, and shred of paper that appears to be of ‘importance’?  
I remember years ago when I was an Independent Sales Consultant and Team Leader with Mary Kay Cosmetics, the powerful leaders that mentored me would ask us to look inside our purses and wallets and pull out our receipts, etc. If our purses and wallets were filled with receipts we were told it was a sign that we were ‘broke’ or basically financially unhealthy, because a clear indicator of healthy finances is organization and order. 
Those receipts that were of importance should have already been filed away or set aside for tax purposes; those things that were irrelevant should have already been discarded. After that moment I made it a point of de-cluttering my purse and wallet on a regular basis.
Would you like assistance with figuring out what items need to stay (and for how long) and which you can simply toss or shred?
Since I cannot possibly visit each of my readers’ homes and help de-clutter their life I will provide some valuable tips to get you going down the path to a clutter-free life. I will do this in a series of posts so not to inundate you with information overload.
Today let’s discuss the Tax Documents Timeline…
How long should you hold on to tax returns and other related documents?
The rule of thumb is that you should keep these items based upon your “period of limitations”, which is the length of time in which you can amend your tax return to claim a credit or refund, or that the IRS can assess additional tax…usually three to seven years.
For income tax returns the years reflected below are associated with the time after you initially filed your return.
  1. You owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and (4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3 years.
  2. You do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return; keep records for 6 years.
  3. You file a fraudulent return; keep records indefinitely.
  4. You do not file a return; keep records indefinitely.
  5. You file a claim for credit or refund* after you file your return; keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  6. You file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction; keep records for 7 years.
  7. Keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.
Note: Keep copies of your filed tax returns. They help in preparing future tax returns and making computations if you file an amended return.
This information was retrieved from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website which you can peruse to seek answers to additional questions that you may have, by visiting:
Once April 15th passes each year put your documents from the previous tax year into a clearly marked file box, envelope, or storage bag that states “Taxes 20___” (of course listing the appropriate year) and then put away in your designated “archives” space in your garage, attic, spare closet, or storage unit.
If you are in the Metro Atlanta, Los Angeles, or Orange County areas and are in need of assistance with de-cluttering your life please contact me today for a consultation. Trust me I have seen and heard it all!
Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved; excluding displayed images and information retrieved from IRS.
 

Tax Return Folder Image Source: https://www.egpchecks.com/images/FOLDER10m.jpg

2 thoughts on “>How to Organize your Files: Part One

  1. >Very informative post.I keep stuff that I figure is important, not too much though, I guess it's because I hate having to endlessly look for something and being unable to find.

  2. >Hi Don!You have to assess what's truly important, file/store them and then the rest…discard. As the weeks progress I will be sharing more relevant information that will help you decide if your life is organized or cluttered…then help you de-clutter if necessary. I want to thank you for following my blog and sharing your comments. Some people choose to email me, but you don't mind one way or the other about sharing with me and others. I appreciate your openness. Enjoy your week and continue reading my blog! Warmest wishes,Natasha

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