Looking to get the maximum refund this year? Or, how about lowering your tax bill if you owe?
An organized tax binder is your answer. Whether you file your own taxes, use a service, or an accountant to help prepare them for you- the tried and true tax binder can help you collect the necessary records you need to file your taxes accurately. And when you have all your paperwork organized, you'll have the proof you need to get the deductions and credits you deserve. Putting your own tax binder together is easier than you think. Let's take a look at the essentials you'll need.
Build the perfect tax binder
- Binder: With a tax binder, you'll have a system in place that makes it easier to prepare your taxes year after year. Look for a sturdy binder that's built to last, and with rings that are easy to open and close so you can quickly add and remove documents as needed.
- Sheet protectors: These clear, handy pockets can be used to hold receipts, forms and other loose paper. To keep your papers in top condition, choose sheet protectors made of acid-free and archival-safe material so the print won't lift from paper over time.
- Dividers: Use customized dividers to create sections for your tax documents. Make sure your divider tabs are easy to read from the front or back so they'll be easy to flip to no matter where you are in your binder. Dividers with reinforced holes are designed to stand up to frequent use, so you won't have to worry about them ripping away.
- Tabs: Flag items, jot notes or create sub-sections with repositionable note tabs and margin tabs to call attention to areas you may have questions about or need to highlight.
Now that you've collected these items, let's sort through your paperwork.
Organize your paperwork together
- Income documents
- Deductible expenses, such as mortgage interest, real estate taxes paid and receipts for charitable contributions
- Rental property income and expenses
- Investment records, including year-end statements of earnings from bank accounts, stock portfolios, mutual fund managers, etc.
- Records of any expenses associated with such investments, including investment counsel and advisory fees and safe deposit box rentals
- Medical receipts, including health insurance payment records,
- Business records, including income statements, expense receipts, etc., if you run a small or part-time business out of your home
Place your documents into their proper sections. You might also consider creating an index, logging each item you place into each section. Place this index at the beginning of each section. Now that you've got a record of each item you've gathered, it's easier to know what you have and what's missing at a glance.
Make it easier for tax time each year
Once you've filed your taxes, keep your tax records for future reference in case of a CRA audit. Here are a couple ideas on how to store your past records:
- Keep them in your tax binder. Create a cover and spine for your binder and include the tax year. Then, start a new binder for the current year. Eventually, you will have an organized library of your past tax records.
- Remove this year's documents from your binder, empty your receipts into labelled envelopes, and box them away for future reference. Your tax binder is ready to go, so you can start collecting your receipts and documents in the year ahead.
Take the stress out of tax preparation with these basic supplies to create an organized tax binder. You'll find them at your local office supply store, or online at avery.ca. Once you've put yours together, you'll have a system that will work with you to make tax time easier each and every year.
- Avery Heavy-Duty Binders. Available in a variety of styles, sizes and colours.
- Avery Sheet Protectors. The acid-free and archival-safe material can protect your documents and prevent lifting of ink.
- Avery Ready Index Dividers. Quick and easy way to create customized sections for your binder, on the spot.
- Avery UltraTabs™. Create sub-sections in your binder, and mark and highlight key documents that need more attention.