I did a mountain of filing and tax stuff last week. For me it's worth it to do taxes earlier in the year because spring is craZy with conventions and preparing rates are cheaper. For the past few years, I've been filing through Brass Taxes: Tax help for artists, freelancers, and other nice people. You gotta tally up and fill out your itemized deductions, but the site categorizes them in an easy way to understand, and the Brass Taxes folks help you with any questions. I've been better at tracking my receipts all last year, and I was able to get a lot more in deductions that I ever could with just TurboTax or H&R Block, etc, which are formulated for people with one job and are not freelancer-friendly.
Before getting all my tax stuff together, I reorganized my entire filing system. Artists, including myself, are notoriously messy. I had everything from random drawings to worksheets from classes to business cards strewn in piles around my room. NO MORE. With the help of the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen (this book has changed my life - can't stop raving about it!) I've gotten all my papers under control. Basically, the book changed the way I thought about filing/referencing - it's not just for stuff like taxes, banks, and credit cards, which was what my system was like before. You can and should file EVERYTHING. At first it felt weird to me to put artwork in a filing folder, but now I have project folders for each client I've worked with - no matter how brief or small the project was. I've made a folder titled "Business Tips," as I've gotten handouts from short business talks over the years. I've made folders for almost every convention I've been in, and in the future will put respective business cards in each convention folder (instead of in bags - where did I meet that person again?). There's a "Websites/People to check out" folder, when I don't have a business card but jot the name down on a scrap of paper for some reason or got a pamphlet that intrigues me. There's a "Sketches" folder for random sketches that for some reason aren't in a sketch book.
The wonderful thing about all this organization is that not only is my room cleaner, BUT I CAN ACTUALLY FIND STUFF! Recently, I was trying to negotiate payment for a possible new job, and as I was sorting through papers to file, coincidentally came across a packet called "Employment Decision & Negotiation" from the University of Michigan Business School. I would have NEVER remembered I even had such a thing if I hadn't made the choice to reorganize. It's true that you can find a lot of stuff online, but not everything. Physical filing is not dead. I've been slowly tackling my digital filing too, but that's another story.
And remember, this awesome event is tomorrow, don't miss it!