Preparing for your Tax Appointment

Knowing what to bring to your tax appointment can save you time as well as money on your tax return so take a few moments to review this checklist of what you need to bring as well as what you don’t need to worry about…

 Things You will Need to Bring

All Individuals

  • All W2’s and 1099’s (cannot do taxes without W2’s…need to have them with you)
  • Bank Interest Statements … interest on checking, savings, CD’s, etc.
  • Mortgage Interest Statements (if applicable)
  • Child Care Statements  (if applicable)
  • Charitable Contribution Statements from church, etc.  (see note below)
  • Birth dates of everyone to be included on the tax return (including social security numbers if not already listed on the prior year’s tax return)
  • Information on anyone that is not a regular member of your household that might be included on your tax return (i.e. parents, children living with an ex-spouse, etc.)
  • Prior Year’s Tax Return

Plus for Self-employed Individuals

  • All 1099’s received plus any monies received not on a 1099.
  • Bank Statements-if you are not incorporated and have your personal and business deposits lumped together in one bank account, please provide a notepad or spreadsheet telling me which deposits are business vs. the personal deposits.  This will save me time and you money.
  • List of all expenses with amounts either paid or charged … Any one item over $100 that will last over ONE year needs to be separated from this list as it has to be depreciated (i.e. computer, desk, etc.) … date and amount of purchase for each applicable depreciated item is required.
  • Mileage records … logs, calendars, etc.  (documentation required by IRS)
  • In-home Office -- square footage of work area plus square footage of house [heated and cooled part of home only…not porches, garage, etc.] along with amount of your annual house insurance, utilities, rent paid (if applicable)
    • Room must be exclusively and solely used as an office area
    • If your employer provides you with an office, an in-home office deduction is NOT allowed by the IRS.
  • List of amounts paid to contract laborers including any 1099’s prepared by you.  If you paid family members for labor, please provide this information and amounts as well. 
  • Interest amounts on business credit cards and vehicle(s) used in the business; may need to call the auto finance company to obtain the interest charged as this vehicle interest is a legitimate deduction.
  • Any other document in your possession that says “IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENT” or “AMOUNTS HERE WILL BE REPORTED TO THE IRS”

 Things You Do NOT Need to Bring

  • Monthly home mortgage paperwork (only need the year end statement)
  • Blank Charitable Contribution forms from Goodwill, etc.  (only need a LIST with the amounts and dates of your contributions on it).  Note the IRS will ONLY accept yard and thrift sale value of clothes and household goods ... not the actual cost when they were purchased or what you feel they are worth (for example, $1 for shirts, $2 for pants, etc. in perfect shape of course).
  • Gas Receipts … Mileage is a better deduction for most taxpayers than just gas receipts so they are NOT needed UNLESS the gas is for equipment fuel. 
  • Any other expenses of a personal nature

Summary

Your tax prep fee is based upon time spent preparing your return.  Bringing only what is needed, making your lists on a note pad or spreadsheet will save me time and you money.  If you bring me a garbage bag or shoe box filed with all kinds of records, receipts and a bunch of personal items, your tax preparation fee will be much higher.  If I need something else, I will advise when I review your materials.  Thanks for your help and understanding as I want to keep my fees as reasonable as possible.   

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Carolyn Savage,
Dec 7, 2012, 9:09 PM
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