Organizing Business Files for Tax Preparation

Small Business Document ManagementJanuary is a busy time of year for businesses; it is when they need to start organizing business files and documents for the tax preparation season. Tax filing deadlines will be here before you know it and companies need to start to organize their business files now in order to have the correct documents to properly prepare their tax returns. Companies need to go through their documents for the previous year, and then organize and determine what files need to stay in an office and what should be placed in business document storage in a self-storage unit.  

Business Documents Needed for Tax Preparation

Tax preparation services such as TurboTax have provided a handy small business tax planning checklist for the documents that are needed to fill out tax forms. The IRS also has a website to help small company owners and those who are self-employed with their tax preparation needs. Appropriate documentation is required to support income and expenses reported on annual filings.  If you are uncertain as to what is required, it is best you consult a tax professional to assist you.

Keeping Important Business Documents

After businesses have prepared their tax forms, documents should be organized and stored in a central area either in an office or in a self-storage unit. Small business document management is crucial to comply with document regulations. Federal and state laws require the retention of specific business documents ranging from accounting records to personnel records. The majority of the documents that are listed below are required to be kept by all businesses and they are also needed for tax preparation.  Of course, you should always consult a tax or law professional to determine exactly what your particular business document retention policy should be. 

Accounting Records - Financial statements, income tax returns, payroll tax returns, general ledgers, accounts payable and receivable records, expense reports, charge and cash slips, bank deposits and income tax withholdings.

Corporate Records - Fixed Asset Reports, property appraisals and internal audit records just to name a few.

Human Resources and Payroll - Employee W-2 Forms, Worker’s Compensation benefits, payroll records, attendance records, medical benefits, payroll checks, and personnel records.

Small Business Document Management

Every business, small and large, should be able to easily manage the documents listed above. A tip to start organizing your business files would be to sort the paperwork into what needs to be kept at the office and what can be placed into archival storage. Some documents need to be kept for many years, while others may be retained for as little as two years. Business files for the past two years should be kept within the office and then stored outside the office after that time. Most corporate and fixed asset records need to be retained permanently. Accounting records such as financial statements, check registers, general ledgers and income tax returns need to be kept permanently as well. Other accounting documents such as accounts payable or receivables, bank statements, expense reports or charge and cash slips can be shredded after seven years. Once again, retention policies vary depending on industry and jurisdiction so if you are uncertain, it pays to consult a tax or legal professional.

Business File Self-Storage Solutions

Renting a self storage unit is a great place to store excess business equipment, files and documents. Keeping archived business files stored in a self-storage unit will keep your office space un-cluttered and reduce stress levels, while increasing work space and productivity! ezStorage offers many business storage solutions at all of our 46 locations within Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. Our storage professionals can help determine the best storage unit size for your business storage needs.