Now that 2009 is over, don’t wait until April to start getting your taxes in order. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Terry Savage suggests three tasks that you can do now if you plan to itemize your deductions.
If you don’t currently have a system, don’t worry. All you need are a few plastic sandwich bags and a shoebox:
- Put all those deductible receipts in separate baggies — taxi receipts, dues and subscriptions, unreimbursed business expense receipts, and the letters you’ll receive certifying your charitable donations.
- If you’re banking online, print out your check register. Or download the year’s banking into a Quicken file. Take all your monthly statements, put an elastic band around them and throw them in the shoebox as well. If you’re still using a paper check register, ask your bank for a new one to start 2010. Put the old one in the shoebox.
- Prepare a file for your year-end investment statements, which will start arriving in January. The ones from your 40l(k) or IRA won’t have an impact on your taxes, but it’s nice to keep them all together. That’s also where you’ll stash your W-2 from work, and any 1099 forms that arrive in January, showing interest or dividends or capital gains.
The best part about doing this now is that it serves two purposes. First, when April rolls around, you’ll be prepared. Second, you can start 2010 with drawers free of receipts.