There’s no better time to sort through the growing pile of papers in your home office than when you’re preparing to file year-end taxes. While organizing paperwork and personal files can seem like a daunting task, it certainly doesn’t need to be. Master Lock has provided five tips for organizing and safely storing important documents for a smooth tax filing process and more organized year.
“Eliminating unnecessary paperwork and storing tax files in one organized, secure place is vital to a stress-free tax filing process,” said Rebecca Smith, vice president, marketing for Master Lock. “By creating and maintaining a master storage system, individuals can not only ease the tax filing process, but also enjoy a feeling of preparedness year-round.”
- Purge the paperwork: First things first – clear the clutter. Go through all paperwork and eliminate anything you no longer need, shredding identifying documents to protect against identity theft. Get rid of expired warranties and year-old receipts and bank statements.
- Safely store crucial records: Designate a specific storage space for vital documents including birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, wills and social security cards. These items, as well as any important memorabilia, should be stored in a locked, fire retardant box such as Master Lock’s 7142D storage box. Not only will you always know where these items are, they’ll be safe from home mishaps.
- Create a tax file: Create a separate file for all of your tax documents. We recommend a customizable, portable filing solution such as Master Lock’s 7148D storage box for simple and easy transport to and from meeting with your accountant or tax advisor. Organize this file into 10 categories: income (pay stubs, W-2s, interest statements), medical (medical expenses and health insurance out-of-pocket), donations (cash and non-cash donations), real estate (interest statements from mortgage, tax assessments), child care (payment receipts), tax correspondence (important IRS or state revenue service letters), student loans (statements of payment), miscellaneous receipts (any receipts that might be needed for deductions), payments (records of advance payments) and old tax papers (old tax returns). Continue to use your tax file year-round, and you won’t have to scramble for these documents when it comes time to file next year.
- Back up everything: Make digital copies of important documents and store them in your fireproof box on a zip or thumb drive. Use a secure online organization and security solution, such as the Master Lock Vault (www.masterlockvault.com) to store log-in and password information for bank accounts and credit cards as well as lock combinations or key numbers to your file boxes. Consider appointing a guardian as an additional security measure who knows where and how your records are stored for easy access in your absence.
- Make it a tradition: Select a specific time of year (perhaps when tax time rolls around again) and make your review of these records an annual occurrence. This will ensure your information is streamlined and up-to-date and that finding or organizing this information is never an overwhelming process again.
Everyone has documents that are important and need to be kept in a safe and secure place, whether it be a Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Tax Documents, Home Deeds, or other important documents. Currently I have a safe deposit bank at a bank where I keep our important documents, but I don’t get a chance to go there as often as I should to put in new stuff. So at home I don’t have anything safe and secure in the meantime before I go to the bank.
I got the chance to check out the Master Lock 7140D Security Chest and its perfect for securing all my documents.
Masterlock Security Chest 7140D
The new handy storage security chest from Masterlock is an all steel construction chest and is ideal for money, jewellery and small documents. The Masterlock 7140D is fitted with a lock at the front, has a carry handle for easy transportation and the lid is secured by a piano-type hinge
- Fire Retardant Insulation
- Heavy Duty Steel Construction
- Handle for convenient carrying
- Two document envelopes included
- Built-in security lock
What I love about the Master Lock Security Chest is that it is the perfect size for my needs and light enough that I can carry it. The two main features that are a must for me are that it has fire retardant insulation and has a key lock. Having a fire or other emergency is not something people can really prepare for, but the Master Lock products do a good job to make things easier for people. I feel much safer knowing my documents are secured in a Master Lock product rather than just sitting in an envelope in a filing cabinet. The Security Chest is also something I can just carry with me to the bank to empty into our safe deposit box or if we ever close our safe deposit box I would be fine with just keeping everything inside the Master Lock Security Chest.
VISIT: For more information on document storage solutions including where to buy, please visit Master Lock’s website at www.masterlock.com. Visit www.masterlockvault.com to utilize the free, secure online storage application and download a smart phone app for easy access on the go.
WIN IT: (1) US winner will receive the Master Lock Storage Security 7148D
- Locking file box
- 6″ (15.2cm) x 13-1/2″ (34.3cm) x 10-1/2″ (26.7cm)
- Durable steel construction stands up to daily use
- Key lock to protect and secure your personal documents
- Includes 2 keys
TO ENTER: Leave a tip or comment on keeping documents secure or organized.
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Mom and More Disclosure: I was sent a product to review in exchange for my honest opinion. Please see my Disclosure Policy.