Monday, January 16, 2012

Organize with Files for Tax Time and Warranty Claims

Red-bellied Woodpecker in Texas sits on a branch.

Organize for 2012 so you'll be prepared for taxes, broken appliances and warranty work. Start a simple filing system with an expandable folder or file drawer. You don't need much to get started and keep your system up-to-date. Manila file folders work with a file drawer. Here's an easy system that works.

Label your file folders for saving receipts and papers you'll need for taxes or reference. Some labels you might use are 
  • credit cards
  • house
  • income
  • insurance
  • taxes
  • miscellaneous

Date each file for the year.

During the year, stick the receipts in the correct file. Any order will do at this point. You don't have to be a fanatic for this system to work -- just don't throw away receipts or information about the things you might need, especially credit cards and insurance.

When it's tax time, pull the files for the year and sort the receipts. They will all be together for easy retrieval. Use the tax file to write down the items you can deduct from your taxes, such as property tax or maybe even your vehicle renewal fees. Calculate your credit card interest paid and other enlightening figures, so you can see where your money goes. Review the files for taxes and for budget resolutions -- improvements you can make to your spending habits.

You'll also need a warranty file for all of your small equipment. An alphabetical expandable file works well for this. When you purchase anything with a warranty such as electronic, electrical or hand equipment, clip the receipt to the warranty and mark the date of purchase. File your warranty information alphabetically by the name of the item for easy retrieval. This file is ongoing, and doesn't need to be started new each year. Include household items such as water heater, microwave and appliance warranties as well as warranties for toaster and small kitchen appliances. If it has a warranty, you need to save the paperwork to make a warranty claim. Be sure to make a warranty claim if you have an issue with any piece of equipment within the warranty period. This notifies the company of a potential problem as well as assists you in the repair or replacement of the item. 

If your mind doesn't like the thought of organizing, this filing system works with little mental agony. Although the tax deadline isn't here yet, it's time to set  up new files for 2012 so you'll have purchases and expenses for the year all in one place.

See you next time!


P.S. The red-bellied woodpecker is in our backyard, and claims the territory in this area of Texas.