How to Organize Your Tax Docs


Do you have an area on your desk or in your office where you just toss receipts and any business-related documents?

I know, I’m guilty of it occasionally. Today, I’m going to share with you the method I’ve found success as both an accountant and a small business owner.

I’m a sucker for pretty things, and my filing system is no exception. I made calligraphy (font, not handwritten!) labels to stick on envelopes that would fit 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Every month, I stick my receipts, bank statements, PayPal statements, canceled checks, etc. in the envelope.

Now you need to do something with the documents you’ve collected through the month. Set up a recurring date with yourself to spend an hour, or a couple hours recording your transactions on Excel, Quickbooks, FreshBooks, or whatever you use to do your bookkeeping. You can skip this step if you’ve hired a bookkeeper that takes care of this for you.

Once the year is over, you’ve sent in your tax return, and you’re ready to shred, shred, shred – DON’T!  Hang onto everything for at least three years or longer.

Download the labels I used for the Avery 8161 labels (20 per sheet).

If you’ve got a different method that works for you, I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a note in the comments 🙂

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Amy Northard, CPA

Amy Northard, CPA

Founder of The Accountant for Creatives®
+ taxes + bookkeeping + consulting
+ Hang out with me over on Instagram!


  • I have a three ring binder for each year. I punch holes in my bank and credit card statements and put them in my notebook each month. Right behind each month’s statements, I put a clear plastic pocket page where I put all my receipts. I write on the receipt what the purchase was or the category of the purchase. I use highlighters in different colors on my credit card statements to help me record the expenditures in categories more easily on a spreadsheet. For example: my COGS- like lab charges- are highlighted in green. Then I can easily see those costs when I’m recording them on a spreadsheet. All my digital purchases like templates, papers, actions are highlighted in pink, etc.

    • Amy Northard, CPA Amy Kerr, CPA says:

      That’s an awesome method! Very easy to follow if you ever need to go back and figure out what an expense was.

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