Why You Shouldn’t Put Your Tax Files Away Just Yet

By Equity Trust Staff0 Comments

Now that your return is filed, you probably put tax season far from your mind. Not so fast, say some experts. It’s not too early to begin thinking about tax-filing success when you file in 2015. If this seems depressing, think about how much more of a hassle it will be if you delay dealing with problems until April 15 rolls around.

Taking a few simple actions can help you get organized and more prepared for your next tax filing. An article on thestreet.com provides some ideas:

Adjust your withholding – if you got a large refund or owed a large amount of money on your 2013 tax return, make adjustments to the amount taken out of your paychecks.
Get organized – If you were scrambling trying to find the necessary receipts and documents to file your taxes, identify a place you can keep them going forward so they’re easy to find next April.

Before you toss your 2013 tax information, consider these additional guidelines based on IRS rules. You might want to keep your records a bit longer. 
  • At minimum, keep tax records for as long as the IRS has the ability to audit your return or assess additional taxes, which generally is three years after you file your return.
  • Keep tax returns themselves forever, so you can prove to the IRS that you actually filed. (There’s no statute of limitations for an audit if you didn’t file a return.)
  • For W-2 forms, consider holding them until you begin receiving Social Security benefits. Why? In case a question arises regarding your work record or earnings for a particular year.
  • For records related to real estate or investments, keep documents as long as you own the asset, plus three years after you sell it and report the sale on your tax return.
With the 2013 tax-filing season in hindsight, what will you do differently to plan for the next tax return filing? Let us know in the comment section.