Make Next Year’s Taxes Easier with Better Recordkeeping, Advises

Most Americans have already completed their 2004 tax returns, but there’s plenty of time to make next year’s tax season go more smoothly. The secret, said Michele Tyson, ( spokesperson, is better record keeping.

“One reason so many people dislike tax time is that it is typically so time-consuming to round up all the necessary information,” Tyson explained. “There’s an easy way to save time and make tax preparation easier: Set up a simple system for keeping good records. It is surprising just how many people have never done this.”

The basic categories for which individual taxpayers should keep records, said Tyson, include income, expenses, investments, charitable giving, and home ownership expenses. Additionally, all records in those categories, along with past years’ tax returns, should be kept on file for at least three years.

“We advise people to keep all W-2s and 1099s on file, but there are other, less obvious, records that are equally important,” Tyson said. “ recommends keeping the full year’s bank statements, brokerage statements, mortgage and property insurance statements, medical receipts, childcare receipts, healthcare receipts, higher education receipts, canceled checks, and various other proof of income, payments and expenses. Even an inexpensive expanding file folder full of these documents is better than just relying on memory at tax time.”

Recordkeeping also serves another purpose: In the event of an audit – the IRS audits about 2% of all tax returns each year – comprehensive records provide the proof necessary to substantiate income and deductions reported.

“When it comes to filing taxes, a little preparation goes a long way,” said Tyson. “With complete records, tax returns are much easier and quicker to complete. We really recommend customers invest a little time in some basic recordkeeping.”

An IRS-authorized e-file provider, was founded in 2002 with the goal of helping people prepare and file their taxes quickly, easily and affordably. Since then, has grown to become one of the most popular online tax preparation services. For more information about, visit

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