You may be getting ready to file your 2020 income tax return, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning for next year’s taxes. In fact, the decisions you make now can have a huge impact on how long it takes you to complete next year’s filing when tax season rolls around.
At Gilmore Services, we’re experts in document scanning, and we know first-hand how helpful it can be to have digital images of your most important tax documents. We work with individuals and businesses every day to ensure they have access to the documents they need – when they need them. Here’s what you can do now to make filing your 2021 taxes a breeze.
Review Your Records
After you have filed your tax return, we recommend going through your records and figuring out what you need to keep and what should be shredded. Here are some of the most important document destruction timelines:
- Bank statements can be destroyed after three years
- Canceled checks should be destroyed after a minimum of seven years, but keep canceled checks for important transactions indefinitely
- Payroll vouchers can be destroyed after seven years
- Receipts for deductions can be destroyed after three years
- Tax returns should be kept for a minimum of seven years, but we recommend keeping them indefinitely.
- Supporting documentation for tax returns should be kept for either:
- Three years from the date you filed your return; or
- Two years from the date you paid the tax due
The Better Business Bureau has a full list of document retention recommendations here.
Scan Important Documents
It is important to retain original documents for the required period, but what happens if – for whatever reason – you’re unable to access your originals, or your originals are destroyed? The best way to hedge against those possibilities is to partner with a document scanning service to create digital images of your records.
At Gilmore Services, offer two options for document imaging. They include:
- Bulk scanning, which is a full-service option. We will prepare your documents for imaging, scan them, index them, and deliver them to you on your choice of media (compact disc, thumb drive, etc.)
- Scan-at-will service, which allows you to choose the documents you wish to scan on an as-needed basis.
With both options, you will be able to access your documents through our secure online portal. That means you’ll have access to them whenever you need them, and even if your originals are inaccessible or damaged, you’ll still have the information you need.
Scan These Documents
You’ll have the easiest possible time with your taxes next year if you choose the right documents to entrust to a document scanning services. Here are the ones we recommend:
- W-2 forms
- 1099 forms
- Bank statements
- Documentation for any tax deductions
- Receipts for charitable donations
- Receipts for business expenses
- Depreciation records
- Canceled checks for any tax payments
You may have additional records you want to store, and those may be specific to your tax return and finances. You should keep your personal and business records separate, but scan both to ensure you have access to them.
Our suggestion is to partner with an experienced company who will provide you with secure storage of your scanned documents, online access to them at any time of day, and a backup copy on a CD or thumb drive in case of emergencies.
It’s not too early to start planning for next year’s taxes, and document scanning is one of the best ways to ensure that your records are in order – and that you can access them when you need them.
Need an experienced partner to help you with document scanning? Click here to learn how Gilmore Services can help!