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Learn how to organize receipts for taxes with my easy tips and tricks!
I’ve always loved being organized, but sometimes, getting there has been a challenge. Do you know what I mean?
My business was one area of organization that I especially wanted to focus on this year. In addition being a blogger, I’m also a freelance writer and marketing consultant. Because I’m self-employed, I tend to collect lots of documents and receipts that are important come tax season.
In the past, I’ve shoved these receipts and documents into various folders and binders, and then struggled to find them when it was time to prepare my taxes. This year, I finally decided to get organized, and you know what? It was really easy!
Today, I’m going to show you how to organize receipts for tax time. Having a good system in place will make preparing your taxes a breeze.
Plus, you’ll be less likely to procrastinate as April 15 draws near, since you’ll already know exactly where your important documents and receipts are stored!
How to Organize Receipts for Taxes
To organize your receipts and documents, you will need a small expandable file with tabbed dividers, file folders, and a label maker.
Although you can use any label printer for this project, I purchased the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Printer, and it is awesome! It actually makes getting organized fun.
This competitively priced label maker has some really cool features, including my favorite: thermal printing. It prints crystal-clear barcodes, labels, and graphics with 600 x 300 dpi resolution, and with thermal printing, there’s no need to buy expensive ink cartridges!
Figuring Out Your Expense Categories
If you are a label maker geek like me, it will be tempting to jump right in and start printing. Do yourself a favor though and make a plan first. Start by asking yourself what your business expenses/tax deductions are.
Most of my expenses are for supplies that I use to create blog content (recipe ingredients, craft supplies, etc.), but I have expenses for advertising, dues/memberships, and travel, too.
Since random expenses come up with any business, I also needed a miscellaneous receipts category. Depending on your businesses needs, your categories could be completely different than mine.
Creating the Labels
Now comes the fun part … creating the labels!
Again, you can use any label printer for this, but I’ll show you how to do it with the DYMO one I have.
The DYMO LabelWriter 450 comes with software to install on your computer. The software works with both PC and Mac computers and makes it easy create completely custom labels.
You’ll start by choosing your label type. I used the LW File Folder Labels that came with the Value Pack and loaded it in my machine before starting.
Next, choose your font settings. I LOVE that I can pick my own fonts, and that I’m not stuck with one font like most label makers.
Although I used a simple font (Century Gothic) for my business labels, I’m planning to experiment with this feature on more creative projects in the future!
You can also make text bold, italic, or underline it, select the justification you want, and choose a specific font size (see below). I let the software determine my font size and choose Auto Fit.
Type your text right on the label template next.
Since the tabs on my expandable file are small, I added text for multiple tabs on each label. I really like how you can see exactly how the text will look before printing.
When the labels looks right, simply click print.
Wasn’t that easy?
I love that the DYMO LabelWriter 450 prints exactly the labels I need, eliminating the waste and hassle of sheet labels.
In a past career, I did a lot of label printing, and I was forever trying to use up half empty label sheets … what a pain!
There are more than 60 label styles and layouts to choose from, too, so there’s a label for your every need.
After printing your labels, trim them down to fit the tabs in your expandable envelope.
A scissors works perfectly for this.
Finally, apply the labels to the tabs in your expandable envelope.
Here’s how I organized the tabs to fit my needs:
- A section for the current month’s receipts first. I’ll log these in my accounting software at the end of each month, then move the receipts to a specific month’s section or one of the other categories.
- Four sections for supply receipts, grouped by quarters of the year (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, and Oct-Dec). The bulk of my receipts will be stored in these sections, and I like grouping them by month so it’s easier to find a receipt later, if needed.
- Sections for Advertising, Dues/Memberships, and Travel, and Misc.
This whole system took me about 15 minutes to create. It was so simple to print exactly what I needed with the DYMO LabelWriter 450, even as a first time user.
I’m feeling more prepared to face tax time than ever before!
Folders to Hold Paperwork
In addition to organizing my receipts, I also labeled some cute file folders to hold paperwork next to my desk.
This is going to eliminate so much clutter on my desk!
I have a little table next to my computer where I set up the file folders and expandable file for receipts.
Everything is within reach of my work space, which will make staying organized easy!
I hope these tips showed you how to organize receipts for taxes. It really is simple with the right tools!
How do you organize your paperwork for tax season?