Update: This article was last updated on 23rd Jan 2019 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
In the previous blog of the series, we discussed the tips to better prepare for the tax season.
Tax season is here, and you might start feeling overwhelmed thinking about the calculation of tax payment, refund, and all the paperwork. While accountants can help you sort and summarize your taxes, it is easier if you do that part beforehand.
If you are like most people who pay others to file their taxes, then there is a probability that you’ve visited your accountant’s office more than once just because you did not remember some documents. Since you need to prepare taxes only once a year, Ace Cloud Hosting has put together a list of documents that you would need beforehand.
Steady your nerves with the checklist below that will help you prepare your tax return with an organized plan of attack.
1. Documents for Identification
IRS needs to know who is covered in your tax return. It’s always good to keep some ID, even if you are going to the same tax preparer. You should also keep social security cards of your spouse and dependents.
- Your social security number and the date of birth of you, your spouse and dependents
- Tax return copy of last year for you as well as your spouse
2. Proof of Income
The tax return should reflect all your income and not what you remember or most of it. This is important as any income which is missing in your return may result in penalties. Here are some of the overlooked income sources that are required while preparing tax return:
- Employment income – W-2 forms for you and your spouse
- Investment income – forms 1099 (DIV, INT, K, LTC, PATR, ), K-1s
- Alimony received
- Social security benefits – form SSA-1099
- Last year installment sale information – form 6252, SSN, interest collected, and address of the payer
- Rental property income or expense
- Income from refunds and unemployment – form 1099-G
- IRA/pension distribution – form 1099-R, 8606
- Income from sale of property – form 1099-C
- Business or farming income – profit/loss statement
- Miscellaneous income including jury duty, lottery winnings, etc.
3. Expense-Related Documents
Most of the time people don’t list their returns and do not bring proof of expenditures, which is not a good practice. Any deductible expense which is greater than the usual deduction can increase the amount of your refund or reduce the amount of taxes you owe. You would not want to miss out on listing these expenditures.
Expenses which can reduce your tax burden are:
- IRA contributions
- Medical expenses
- Union dues
- Charitable contributions
- Student loan interest
- Self-employed health insurance payments
- Energy credits
- Alimony paid
- Moving expenses
- Mortgage interest
4. Taxes Paid by You
If there are taxes you have already paid, take these documents as they can prevent you from overpaying:
- Local and state income tax paid
- Vehicle license fees
- Personal property tax paid
- Real estate tax paid
5. Tax Preparation for Direct Deposit
If you want to get a tax refund directly into your bank account, you need to provide these two things:
- Your bank account number
- Your bank’s routing number
6. Proof of Losses
Natural disasters, theft, fire or any such unexpected events may lead to losses in business. Take the proof of events in the form of insurance claims, police report or any other official documents. These documents can give you some relaxation in the taxes.
If you have received a partial amount from insurance or disaster relief, take those documents with you as well.
File Your Taxes Efficiently!
Having the right documents would help your accountant focus on the specific requirements of your business. It reduces the amount of time taken to prepare a tax return and make the annual meeting more productive. Your accountants can also alert you in advance if any document is missing or incomplete.
This checklist should help you get organized before filing your income tax return. You will find it easier and a lot less stressful if you have all the necessary documents sorted in first place.
As we move further in our tax season blog series, we will come up with the solutions that protect your tax filing process. You can subscribe to our blogs and receive updates in your email inbox when we publish tips to help you stay safe during this tax season.
We would like to receive your opinions on our blog series. Please share your feedback in the comments below. If there is any other query related to hosting of tax software or accounting applications, you can connect with our solutions consultant now.
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