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Getting your taxes in order

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Posted: 1 pm ET

A CPA once told me that 95 percent of doing taxes is organization. I'm not sure I agree with that percentage. I suspect he had really unorganized clients.

But doing taxes definitely is easier when you've got your act, and tax documents, together. If you've yet to file 2011 your tax return, take a look first at 7 ways to get organized for the tax year.

If you live in Boston, you apparently already know these tax organization tips.

The Massachusetts capital is the No. 1 "Most Organized City" of the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a study by Doxo, the Seattle-based digital organization firm.

The company created its own organization index which analyzes key organization indicators, such as a city's propensity for recycling, fighting junk mail and prompt filing of tax returns.

Beantown residents scored 97.7 out of 100 total points on the index.

Rounding out the top five were Raleigh, N.C.; Miami, Fla.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Tampa, Fla.

So where do all the disorganized folks live, at least according to Doxo data?

Houston, we have a problem getting our stuff together.

Yes, my fellow Texans seem to have a large amount of disarray in their lives this tax season, coming in at the No. 25 spot with a score of only 57.3.

Joining Houston at the bottom of the organization list were more Lone Star State residents in Dallas, which ranked No. 21. Spots 22 through 24 were taken by Washington, D.C. (insert your own congressional joke here), Atlanta and Detroit.

Regardless of where you live, if you don’t have a tax record-keeping system in place yet, set one up now. It will definitely help make filing your 2012 returns next year much easier. And having all the right info at your fingertips could save you some tax dollars.

Do you use a special filing system for your tax material? I'd love to hear from you about what you've found works best or doesn't work so well.

Get more tax news and tips by subscribing to Bankrate's free tax newsletters. You can receive a Daily Tax Tip. Or if you prefer a more consolidated collection, subscribe to the Weekly Tax Tip newsletter. Or sign up for both.

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