Tax Tips

Hanging files organize tax documents

Tips and Tools for Better Document Management

July 9, 2014 : Kristin Shaw

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Now that you know which tax documents you should keep and how long to store them, it’s time to manage the hoard of paper. P.S. here’s a list that includes guidelines for more than just tax documents.

Paper storage isn’t bad, however, it can be difficult to manage – since it requires physical space – and is a little risky because of its propensity to be damaged, lost or stolen.

Understand that no form of storage is perfect. In fact, experts recommend that you keep important documents like these stored in at least two, preferably three, places.

H&R Block has you potentially covered with one.

If you use a “My H&R Block” online account, it will store your tax return for three years.

For a secondary option, it’s good to have a “physical” storage option.

This could be paper, or it could be digital copies of all the necessary tax documents stored on a USB drive, a hard drive, a CD or DVD. Despite being digital copies, these are physical storage options that will exist as long as they are in your possession. (Although you should note that these devices also tend to have “lives.” At some point they will likely fail or no longer work.)

Which brings us to cloud storage.

Putting your documents in digital cloud storage means that they are accessible from anywhere and immune to some of the perils of physical storage. You should keep in mind though that these cloud services are not always permanent. Companies shut down, Internet services can be hacked and credentials can be lost. So while this is probably the ideal option for storage, it’s also best to have some kind of backup too.

Within cloud storage there are a few options. One is pure-play cloud services which are chiefly interested in storing data. You typically have to use your own scanner or computer to digitize the necessary documents and then upload for storing.

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Amazon Cloud Drive | Box | Dropbox | Google Drive | SugarSync

There are also a number of desktop and mobile apps that are concerned with helping you capture, store and organize this kind of data. These will do more of the work for you, in a sense.

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Evernote | OneNote | Shoeboxed

Kristin Shaw

Kristin Shaw

H&R Block

Kristin was previously the editor of Block Talk, the official H&R Block blog. Prior to joining H&R Block, Kristin worked in marketing for higher education institutions and actually taught some college classes too.

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