I collect all my tax records in a bucket along with any other documents that I might need for the previous year.

Most old people I know keep their tax records in various piles in various places complete with envelopes. (Why individuals save envelopes, I don’t know.) The main filing place is usually the kitchen table where they are moved around at meal time and frequently fall on the floor. As a result, they can’t find anything when it comes time to file. Remember, a good trash can is invaluable to an old person.

Record keeping is simple for most old people who don’t have a business.

  1. A bucket in which you throw all relevant bills, bank statements, social security statements, credit card statements, tax refund notices, mortgage statements, etc. NO ENVELOPES!!!
  2. If you need something, sort through the bucket.
  3. At the end of the year you take last year’s tax return, or a copy, remove the staple and note all the blanks that contain information. ie social security income received.
  4. You go through the bucket and paper-clip each item to the relevant part of last  year’s tax return. All charitable contributions are paper-clipped to the charitable contributions section; all income 1099 forms are paper clipped to the income section.
  5. You fill in the current years information in red pen on last year’s return.
  6. You track down the information  for the items that you don’t have documents for. ie a missing 1099.
  7. You add the items in the bucket that don’t appear on last year’s return if they are relevant.
  8. You take last year’s tax return with all the documents attached to your tax preparer, or you fill out the new  return with the information.
  9. You put a new label on the bucket, add a copy of the 2017 tax return and forget about it until the end of 2018.
  10. You file the return and attach last year’s return with the paper-clipped documents attached to  your copy of this years return and put it in a safe place in case  you are ever audited.

The result is all the information is in one place and you, or your children or guardian, can instantly access whatever is needed for the previous year. If you are audited, everything you need to support your return is attached to your copy. If you die, your heirs can simply go the bucket and get needed information.





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