Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tax Filing Season's Here: Get Your Record Ducks In A Row!




Picture Courtesy: Google Images

Just before tax season I sometimes feel like that man in the old movies about cars- you know the one where he ran ahead with a flag announcing there was a car on the way! Well, tax season is officially just a few days away & the Internal Revenue Service has announced January 17th, 2016- so go figure!

I usually send out a nifty Tax Organizer for my clients every year around this time, so they have all their records together when they are ready for me. But this is a great list to have whether you do your taxes by yourself or you hand them over to your Enrolled Agent or other tax professional

Income Information & Taxes Paid:


  • Social Security Numbers for yourself, spouse and dependents. 
  • All your general taxable income information including W-2's, 1099s etc. 
  • Do you get tips on your job? Hope you keep records of that, you will need it. 
  • Unemployment income if you filed for it, you'll receive a Form W-2G from your state. 
  • Alimony paid & received are deductible & taxable. 
  • Gambling winnings are taxable & losses are deductible to the extent of the winnings- so Forms W-2G's and records of losses. 
  • Retirement distributions, Social Security statements and Forms 5498 showing basis in your accounts.
  • Estimates Paid to the feds and the state.

  • Deduction Information:



  • Homeowners may have mortgage interest statements, property tax and other related expenses. Interest paid on home equity loans or line of credit. 
  • Medical and dental expenses out of pocket. 
  • Other deductible taxes: prior year state taxes paid, local income taxes, personal property taxes, sales tax write-offs if you had major purchases
  • Charitable contributions, both cash & non-cash. 
  • Casualty or theft losses if you had any, not reimbursed by your insurance company is deductible on your taxes. 
  • Hope you have been keeping track of your unreimbursed work-related expenses, including expenses of looking for a new job. 
  • Some investment expenses are deductible, so you had hefty advisor fees? Let your tax pro know of them. They may also be listed on the brokerage statements. 







  • Other Life Status Changes That Effect Your Taxes: 




  • Marriage or Divorce.
  • Yourself, your spouse or dependents going to college.
  • Major Improvements to your home. 
  • Renting out real estate. 
  • Birth or adoption of a child. 
  • Moving in connection with your job.
  • Cancellation of non-residential debt.
  • Served in the military, received combat pay? That has special treatment
  • Had grandchildren? Gifted money to their Education Savings Plan?

  • Some Other Information You May Need:

    > Bank account information if you want your refund direct deposited. (Safest recommended way)
    > If you had a problem with Identity theft and the IRS issued you a PIN, then you will need that to e-file. 
    This is no way an exhaustive list, you may need more documents depending on your unique tax situation. Do make your appointment with an Enrolled Agent today to get your taxes prepared. If this Enrolled Agent is a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (the NAEA), you will then be assured of meeting a tax professional with 30 annual Continuing Professional Education hours to be back you up. 

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    As always, read my disclaimer here. Please consult a qualified tax professional for your unique tax needs. More of my contact information is on my website, www.mntaxbiz.com