This information is brought to you by Diane Hatcher, Certified Professional Organizer and Productivity Specialist, owner of Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The following information is presented in collaboration with Ramona Creel, former owner of OnLineOrganizing.com.
End of Year To-Do’s Checklist
The first of the year is a great time to get your house (and/or your business!) in order — and we’ve put together a checklist of very important but often overlooked year-end “to-do’s.” Run through this checklist and make sure that you’ve taken care of everything from 2013 before you get too far into 2014. Be sure to contact Time-Savers at (954) 252-7511 or go to our website at www.timesaversUSA.com and contact us by e-mail at diane@timesaversUSA.com for professional assistance with any of these activities:
- Clean out your 2013 financial records (utility bills, credit card and bank statements, etc.) and other outdated documents from your active files — either shredding or archiving as appropriate — making room for your 2014 paperwork. Don’t know what to save and what to shred? We do. Contact us before you toss or shred.
- Gather all of your tax paperwork for 2013 — business receipts, medical and child care deductions, year-end bank and credit card statements, etc. — and update your accounting program for the year. (Is your accounting program the shoe box type? It needs to be organized for your accountant. We can do that, too)!
- Discard the supporting tax documents for tax year 2006 (7 years from the date you filed) and earlier except for income related W-2’s and 1099’s (storing the actual tax return in a permanent file) to make room for your 2014 paperwork. Store any tax-related supporting documents for 2013 in your archive files, labeled “SUPPORTING TAX DOCUMENTS 2013 — DESTROY IN 2020” (Note: If fraud is suspected, the IRS has the right to audit you as far back as they choose to go).
- Update your household and business property inventories to include photos, receipts, and appraisals (if necessary) for any new purchases made in 2013 — and upgrade the replacement value of your homeowner’s or property and casual insurance to cover those items.
- Update your wills and powers of attorney to take into account any changes in the tax and estate laws in 2013 — or a life change like a move, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, etc.
- Update your list of account numbers (banks, credit cards, investments, insurance policies, etc.) and your list of important contacts (attorney, investment broker, doctors, CPA, insurance agent, executor of will, etc.) to include any changes in 2013. Advise a close friend or relative as to where to find this info.
- Make certain that copies of your most important documents (will, power of attorney, list of account numbers, list of important contacts, insurance policies, birth certificates, household inventory, etc.) are protected in a safe, safe deposit box, on a disk or flash drive.
These suggestions are intended to get you on your way to an organized new year and make your tax filing a bit easier. They are not intended to replace the advice you should get from your personal attorney, financial planner and accountant as they know your situation best. Please check out any of our recommendations with them prior to shredding or tossing any documents about which you are unsure.
Have a wonderful and well-organized 2014! We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you in any way to help simplify your life.
Diane A. Hatcher, CPO®
Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc.