[IMGCAP(1)]Again, its tax time and many of us aren’t prepared. We are dreading the long days/nights ahead. Below, some tips for people looking to get organized for this, or next, tax season:

•    Scan all receipts as soon as you receive them. There are several handheld scanners that make this process doable. If you don’t want to scan on the fly because timing doesn’t permit, dedicate one day and time to do all the week’s receipts. If you go longer than a week, the process can become overwhelming.

•    Consider placing scanners where mail is opened. If all mail is opened in the mail room, then consider placing a scanner in the mail room. If you have a home office or a kitchen desk, a desktop scanner will be more efficient. The scanning process will only take a few seconds if the scanner is accessible.

•    Make sure the scanners you purchase have built-in automatic image processing. This will give you high quality images without having to fiddle around with complicated settings, which can become easy distractions.

•    Try scanning in grayscale or black and white mode for typical business documents. These scanning modes minimize file sizes and are good for typical documents. Only scan in color mode if there is color in the document that is important, because color documents can be up to three times larger than those in black and white. This will cut down on the size of the files, too, so you can easily send them to your accountant or save for backup documents that you need in tax time.

•    If you do purchase a scanner to help during tax time, it may be deductible as a business expense, mainly if you own your own business.

•    If you are scanning thousands of documents, consider purchasing a document management system for your business. There are hundreds of document management systems to choose from, including cloud-based systems. A document management system will allow you to easily capture, store, share and retrieve your scanned documents. A document management system is critical if you more than one person needs to retrieve scanned documents.

•    If you are considering a document management system, make sure you purchase a scanner that has an automatic document feeder (ADF) to speed the scanning process and comes with TWAIN drivers to ensure compatibility.

•    Don’t forget to think about prepping for taxes well in advance. If you did set up a scanning system, everything is already in one place and it can cut down on how painful tax time can be!

Mark Druziak is the director of marketing and business development for Plustek Technology.

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