Preparing for Your Tax Appointment

Feb 6, 2014 12:37:08 PM / by Dave Boelman

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Arrive prepared for your tax appointment.  Having everything ready well ahead of time will streamline the tax preparation process, get your filing completed earlier, and ensure that you have the opportunity to claim all the tax benefits to which you are entitled.

Documentation of Income

You may need to submit several different documents, depending on how you receive your income.

  • W-2s for employment wages
  • 1099s for investment income, independent contractor income, government payments, retirement account withdrawals, property sales, and debt cancellation income
  • Documentation of alimony received
  • Profit and loss statement for business (Schedule C), including documentation of business expenses
  • Prior year installment sale information

 

Documentation of Adjustments

Take the time to make sure that you have all of your adjustment documentation in order.  These items are critical to minimizing your tax obligation.

  • Retirement account contributions
  • Self-employed health insurance payments
  • Self-employment tax
  • Student loan interest
  • Alimony paid
  • Educator expenses
  • Moving expenses related to employment
  • Tuition and fees
  • Health savings account contributions

 

Documentation for Tax Credits

Tax credits are especially beneficial because unlike deductions, which can indirectly reduce your tax bill by lowering your taxable income, they are direct subtractions from the amount of tax you owe.  Refundable credits can increase your refund even if it means reducing your tax obligation to below zero.  Be sure to organize your documentation of the following expenses:

  • Child and dependent care expenses (including provider’s name, address, and tax ID number)
  • Adoption expenses (including legal, medical, and travel expenses)
  • Retirement plan contributions, if you qualify for the Saver’s Credit
  • Qualifying energy efficiency expenditures, such as qualifying insulation, replacement windows and doors, water heaters, and HVAC equipment
  • Qualifying educational expenses

 

Documentation for Itemized Deductions

Be sure to have documentation of all of the following expenses that you intend to itemize:

  • Charitable contributions, including non-cash contributions
  • State sales tax calculation, if you elect this deduct this in lieu of state income tax
  • Deductible real estate and personal property taxes
  • Form 1098 for mortgage interest, points, and insurance paid
  • Investment expenses
  • Losses due to casualty or theft
  • Medical and dental expenses (including insurance premiums and copays), if they total at least 10% of your AGI
  • Receipts for unreimbursed employee expenses
  • Tax preparation fees paid

 

Other Documentation

In addition to documentation of income, adjustments, credits, and deductions, remember to bring the following:

  • Social Security numbers of all members of your household (including new arrivals)
  • Copy of previous year’s tax return
  • Any correspondence you have received from the IRS or local tax authority
  • Estimated payments made
  • Direct deposit information
  • Information on any foreign bank accounts you hold
  • Copies of bank or brokerage statements
  • Business accounting records

 

Arriving at your tax filing appointment fully prepared simplifies the process for both you and your tax preparer.  It not only saves valuable time; it ensures that you have done the organizational work necessary to claim all of the tax benefits to which you are entitled.  If you have further questions about what documents you must gather or to schedule your tax appointment, contact us.  Our professional staff will be happy to assist you.

Material discussed herein is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only.  Because individual situations will vary, the information shared here should be used in conjunction with individual professional advice.

Topics: Tax Services

Written by Dave Boelman