The problem with all of these documents, besides the fact that there are so many of them, is that they are all coming from different places, in different forms, at different times, and at a time of year when all I want to do is curl up on the couch with a cup of hot tea, not go through my mail to see which ones are junk mail and which are actual important documents (anyone else feel like the junk mail looks more and more similar to the actually important stuff??). And I have to keep track of many of these documents for months before I actually file my taxes!
Of course my original thought was to keep a hanging file in my office/bedroom and put everything there, but that assumes that I will go through the extra step of filing away these documents after I sort through my mail. Which doesn't always happen. And then I get stressed out because I have some stuff filed and some stuff sitting somewhere in a pile waiting to be filed. So I simplified my system:
I have a mail drop spot just inside my front door (I shared my system in my old apartment in this post- the setup is almost identical in my current house) where I put my incoming and outgoing mail until I can go through and sort things. Whenever I get my first tax document that needs to be saved, I keep the envelope that it came in and write "TAXES" on the blank side, then drop it back in the incoming mail slot with the label facing out. After that, whenever I get another document, I add it to the envelope. When I'm ready to file, I pull out the envelope and everything is ready!
I like this system because it doesn't require any extra effort on my part but allows me to keep everything together in one spot as stuff trickles in through the mail. How do you keep track of everything during tax season? I'd love to hear your tips in the comments!