It is important that you get us as much information as possible before we start preparing your tax return. Any missing information will result in delays while we wait for you to track it down. Since April 15 is a deadline looming for both you and your accountant, it’s in everyone’s best interest that your return is filed quickly and accurately.
Some of the information you need for your tax return is contained in official tax forms from employers, banks, or financial institutions. These forms should be mailed to you in January. Other information, like expenses and self-employment income, will need to be provided by you. Bring in any receipts, cancelled checks, or invoices you might have to support your expenses. The more information you provide to us, the more thorough a job we can do when filing your taxes.
Important Information to Give Your Accountant Before Filing Taxes
Below is a checklist of important information to give your accountant so they can successfully file your income tax return.
We will need personal information for you, your spouse, and any dependents that you will be claiming on your tax return.
- Basic personal information. We need Social Security numbers and birthdates for you, your spouse, and all dependents.
- Last year’s tax returns. Last year’s paperwork provides us with important information for preparing this year’s return. If you are a new client, or you prepared last year’s return on your own, we will need copies of last year’s tax return as well as supporting documents.
- Healthcare coverage. You need to provide proof that you had healthcare coverage or you may be required to pay a penalty. If you purchased healthcare coverage from the Marketplace, you will receive a Form 1095-A in the mail at the beginning of the new year. Please include with your tax documents for our office.
- Bank account information. If you are expecting a refund and you would like your refund to be directly deposited into your bank account, your bank’s routing number and your account information will be required.
Every form of income needs to be reported and filed on your income tax return. Most of this income is reported on official tax forms, which should be sent to you in January.
- Income from Employment. Your employer will send you a Form W-2; if you are an independent contractor, you will receive a Form 1099-MISC.
- Interest and Dividend Income. Financial institutions will send you a Form 1099-INT, -D, or -B to show interest, dividends and gains from investment sales from a bank account or investment.
- Pension and Retirement Income. You will receive Form 1099-R, which reflects income you’ve received from a pension or retirement account.
- Social Security Income. The Social Security Administration will send you Form 1099- SSA in January.
- Unemployment Income. If you’ve received any unemployment income from the government, you should receive Form 1099-G before January 31.
- Alimony. If you’ve received alimony, you need to claim it as income.
- Self-Employment Income and Expenses. If you are self-employed, you should prepare a listing of all income received and include copies of all 1099-Misc forms received. You should also prepare a listing of all business expenses.
- Income and Expenses from Rentals. If you receive rental income, you should prepare a listing of all rental income received and include copies of all 1099-Misc forms received. Insurance Real Estate taxes, mortgage interest, expenses for upkeep and expenses for finding tenants are deductible.
- Income from an Investment in Another Business. If you have an investment in a Partnership or S-Corporation, you will receive a schedule K-1.
- Income from a Trust or Estate. If you are a beneficiary of a Trust or Estate, you will receive a schedule K-1.
These forms or expenses could help us lower the amount of your taxable income, which lowers your tax due to the IRS.
- Student Loan Interest. The student loan company may send you a Form 1098-E, which shows interest you’ve paid for you, your spouse, or your dependents. Your loan statement will also show the interest you’ve paid this year.
- IRA Contributions. You may be able to deduct IRA contributions for you and your spouse.
- If you’ve paid alimony this year, this can be used as an adjustment to your income.
- Teaching Expenses. If you or your spouse is a teacher, you can receive a deduction for expenses related to classroom supplies.
- Moving Expenses. If you moved during the year for a work-related reason, expenses related to the move can be deducted on your tax return. Include the cost of a moving truck or movers, the move itself, and cost of disconnecting and reconnecting utilities.
Some of these deductions are applicable for everyone submitting a tax return, while others only apply to those itemizing their deductions this year.
- Mortgage Interest. Your mortgage company should send you a Form 1098 at the end of the year. This form will show the interest paid on your mortgage or home equity loan, as well as property taxes you’ve paid during the year – all of which could be tax-deductible.
- Donations. Cash and noncash donations to charities can be tax-deductible. Bring in your records of donations or any receipts and paperwork you’ve received from the charity.
- Medical Expenses. Any out-of-pocket expenses for medical, eye, and dental care can be submitted. Be sure to include any health insurance premiums or contributions to a Medical or Health Savings Account.
- Unreimbursed Employment Expenses. If your employer does not reimburse you for expenses such as uniforms, dues, or mileage, you can claim these as deductions. Bring in records or receipts for these expenses.
- Taxes Paid. Bring any information or receipts for taxes you’ve paid this year, including state, local income, and property taxes.
- Mileage. Mileage for medical or charitable purposes can be deductible. Keeping a vehicle log is recommended so you can easily compile your car’s mileage at the end of the year.
- Purchase or Sale of Property. Certain costs of a sale or purchase of property can be deducted from your taxes. Bring in your settlement sheet to determine which deductions may apply to you.
These credits could lower the amount of taxes you owe.
- Tuition Payments. This applies for post-secondary school education for you, your spouse, or a dependent. Bring either Form 1098-T (from the school) or receipts from your payments.
- Child-Care Costs. You will need to provide a record of expenses you’ve paid, along with information for the care giver (name, address, and SSN/EIN).
Call Brandt Accounting for Your Tax Preparation Needs
Based in Manheim, PA, Brandt Accounting specializes in tax preparation for individuals and small businesses. Our team will find the deductions and adjustments to minimize your taxes or to get you the refund you deserve. Call us today at 717-665-2849 to schedule your tax appointment.
For more tax planning advice, visit our Resources page.