Get ready for 2014, organize tax records now

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Q: I keep all of our donation receipts in a manila envelope to make it easy to figure our charitable contribution at tax time. But I don’t really have a system for organizing other tax-related records. Any ideas?

A: The Internal Revenue Service offers some guidance about what records could be important in its publication, “Record-keeping for Individuals” (online at, but everyone’s situation will be different. 

Although some people might think it’s a little early to prepare for April 15, 2014, it’s actually a prime time. If you start identifying and gathering records now that you’ll need for filing in the spring, you can make sure your new system is in place at the start of the year — which will make gathering tax records for the following year a breeze.

Since you already have an envelope system in place and it seems to work, why not just expand it to include other tax-related records:

-- Income. For salary information, many people simply rely on the W-2 form they get at the beginning of the year, but it’s always a good idea to keep pay stubs. That way you can check the W-2 form against the final paystub of the year and make sure the income and withholding figures match. Also, if something happens to your employer and you have trouble getting a W-2, you’ll have pay stubs as proof that taxes were withheld. Also keep records of other types of income — bank statements that show interest, for example.

-- Expenses related to tax deductions. People who don’t itemize and just take the standard deduction might not think this is important. But you never know in January where you might find yourself at the end of the year, so keeping records could be worthwhile. You have a good start with your charitable contributions envelope. Don’t forget to include in it any phone bills with text-message-based donations you make for disaster relief or other drives.

Also, keep an envelope with records for property tax and state and local income taxes paid during the year. Keeping track of medical and dental expenses is also a good idea, in case a serious problem arises and your expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your income — that’s when you can list them as a deduction. If you have a home mortgage or a student loan, keep the records showing the interest you pay — it’s often listed on the loaning institution’s statement. If you’re a teacher, keep receipts for any non-reimbursed classroom expenses — you can get a tax break for expenses up to $250.

The type of records you gather should reflect what’s relevant for you. You might not think of everything now, but if you get a system in place, it will be easier to make adjustments in coming years to make it work even more smoothly.

Family Fundamentals is a monthly column on family issues. It is a service of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Family Fundamentals, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1044, or

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

1325 Bushel Grain Cart

Equipped with a 22” computer balanced auger with 5/16” flighting,the unloading speed is 50% faster than smaller grain carts with ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form