Simplify your tax recordkeeping

Did you spend hours pulling together your tax records in preparation for filing your 2012 tax return? It doesn’t have to be that way. Avoid the problem next year by taking a few simple steps now.

* First, decide what records you need to keep for the current year. Generally speaking, you’ll need records of income items and deductible expenses. Use your 2012 tax return as a guide.

* You’ll also need to keep some items for longer periods. For example, you may need purchase records for your house and other investments years later to calculate your capital gains.

* Set up a filing place for each category. Use folders or plastic pouches for paper records, such as charitable receipts, property tax payments, and mortgage reports.

* If you manage your banking and finances online, open up a series of folders on your hard drive. Save copies of electronic statements or transaction receipts in the relevant folder. Remember to make regular data backups.

* Then stay current with your records as you go through the year. It’s easier to spend a few minutes each month than to have to spend hours reconstructing everything at the end of twelve months.

* At the end of each month, highlight income and deduction items in your check register. Use one color for charitable contributions, another for work expenses, and so on. You can do this whether you keep your register on paper or on a computer. Make sure any associated receipts are filed away correctly.

* At year-end, you should know exactly what falls into each category and where the records are.

Remember, the better your recordkeeping, the better your chances of maximizing tax breaks. If you have questions about the records you need to keep, give us a call.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today’s small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it.

Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission.

Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.

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