Menu Close

Lighter Living Task #4 Taxes

calculator and red pen

Lighter Living is more than a book. Lighter Living Tasks are weekly suggestions to make progress on decluttering, organizing and simplifying your life. By working on parts of your home each week, you will breaking big projects into small, manageable tasks.

Tax receipts and old returns can become clutter. This week we tackle tax prep and old tax returns. First let’s talk about old tax returns. A few years ago, I cleared out my mom’s house when she moved to an assisted living facility. In her basement, I found old tax returns from the 1980’s. I had some massive shredding to do!

So how long do you need to keep old returns? Please read the complete article directly from the IRS. Assuming you read the whole article with exceptions…here is the short answer: “Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return. Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.”

So with that information in mind, can you shred some old tax returns before you start on prep for the current year? Doing so might free up some space!

Next, start getting organized for the current year! Create piles for expenses to report, discard useless items, make lists such as charities you made a contribution to, medical or business expenses and so forth. My goal is to meet with my accountant in early March. Why stress out and wait until the last minute to file yourself or meet with your accountant? Get ahead of the game and then relax!

Between tasks posted on this blog, be sure to read Lighter Living if you have not already.