Terry Herrell, EA
Terry Herrell, EA - Accredited Financial Services
2644 Appian Way, Suite 203 Pinole, CA 94564
Phone: (510) 243-1535 - Fax: (510) 280-7449
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Record Keeping Tips

Getting Your Records Together

Despite your best intentions, you ended up with a box full of receipts, check registers, credit card statements and other scraps of paper. A mess. You don't need anyone to tell you that you should have been organizing your records all along. You need help in making the best of what you have.

Grab all of your receipts and go to the biggest flat surface you can find. Usually the kitchen table works Ill.

On blank pieces of 8 1/2" x 11"paper, write a broad category at the top of each one and place them around the table. Common ones are:

  • Earned income
    (W-2s; jury duty income, hobbies, casual labor; rents, royalties, unemployment compensation, alimony, pensions, prizes, tips, etc
  • Interest income
    from savings accounts, money markets and other funds.
  • Capital gains
    from the sale of stock, real estate or other investments.
  • Dividends
    received from mutual funds and corporate securities.
  • Loan interest
    paid on your home mortgage or second home.
  • Medical Expenses
    including insurance premiums and other medical and dental co-pays or deductibles.
  • Childcare expenses
    including the name, address and tax identification number of the child-care provider.
  • Charitable contributions
    including receipts for donations-in-kind and letters from the organization acknowledging contributions over $250.
  • IRA and Keogh
    plan contributions.
  • Real estate
    and personal property tax receipts.
  • Education expenses
    such as tuition, books, lab fees and student loan interest.
  • Non-reimbursed work expenses
    (travel, classes to improve your job skills, job-related moving expenses, etc.).
  • Miscellaneous
    (union or professional dues, employment agency fees, tax preparation fees.) Yes! I are Deductible!

Now take your records and one-by-one place them around the table in their respective categories. If you have cancelled checks, you may also place them in the proper place.

If your bank doesn't return checks, go through your check register and write the deductible amounts, check #, and date on the piece of paper that lists the category name.

Finally, add the amount in each category. Be sure to use an adding machine since math errors are one of the most common mistakes in doing taxes.

You've done the hard part! And it really didn't take all that long. Now you're ready to take all of your records to your tax preparer.

While the process is still fresh in your mind, get started on your next year's taxes. For each category that you used get a large envelope or file folder and label it with the category name. As your receipts come in, place them in the respective envelope rather than the box. When tax time comes around next year, all you'll have to do is add up the receipts in each envelope.

For the great majority of you, this is all you need. For some of you, your taxes are more complex and you will probably want to contact me.

Site MenuHome · Services · Tax Tips · Contact Us · About Us · Resources · News · FAQ
Terry Herrell, EA - Accredited Financial Services
2644 Appian Way, Suite 203 Pinole, CA 94564
Phone: (510) 243-1535 - Fax: (510) 280-7449