Gather and file away your previous year tax returns.

Yesterday you set aside envelopes to hold your tax-related records for previous tax years.  Today, you should gather those returns and file them in the envelopes.  Then put the envelopes in a safe place.  Ours, for example, are in our safe.

I don’t scan our tax returns anymore.  I do scan individual tax documents as they come in (W-2’s, 1099’s, etc.).  But our tax returns are always stapled and put in folders by our accountant, and I don’t like unstapling them, so scanning them takes a long time, laying page by page on the glass of our scanner.  Our accountant has copies of our returns–and the IRS has transcripts–should something catastrophic and unforeseeable happen to our safe.

One final thing:  If you have tax problems (for example, if you haven’t filed for previous tax years and were supposed to), I would suggest that you handle those one way or another.  Today’s a good day to get started.  Find yourself a great tax attorney and handle the matter.  (I prefer tax attorneys over accountants in this regard because I believe the consistent attorney-client privilege with regard to attorneys goes a long way.  Laws vary, so your mileage may vary.  I’m not a tax attorney or an accountant and definitely not your accountant or attorney.  Seek professional advice if you need it.)

Time required:  Hours, but only because I had scanned mine last summer and had to locate the paper copies.  If you know where yours are, you could be finished with this task in minutes.

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