The number one question that most taxpayers ask when getting their taxes prepared by a credentialed tax preparer is, “What do we need to bring?”
When choosing to have someone else prepare your taxes for you, it can be beneficial to prepare the documents you will need in advance in order to help your preparer get you the best return possible.
Follow these tips on what documents you should bring to your tax preparation meeting and you will be on your way to getting the best return possible on your taxes this season.
If you have a tax question or you need to file your taxes now, please contact our tax office.
Proof of Identity
The IRS requires each tax preparer to physically see a taxpayer’s social security card and another form of ID before we can file your taxes for you. The other form of ID can be a driver’s license, passport, or any other form of ID that contains your picture. Having these forms of ID is how we make sure the return is correct for the right person.The IRS requires each tax preparer to physically see a taxpayer’s social security card and another form of ID before we can file your taxes for you. The other form of ID can be a driver’s license, passport, or any other form of ID that contains your picture. Having these forms of ID is how we make sure the return is correct for the right person.
The person bringing these documents in needs to be listed as one of the taxpayers on the tax return. We will match the social security card and driver’s license to the taxpayer providing the documents in order to confirm their identity for security purposes. Along with your own proofs of identity, you will need to bring your spouse’s and children’s social security cards as well. This allows us to check that the information you provided is correct.
Nine times out of ten you are going to give us the right spelling of your kids’ names, your name, the exact social security number, and all the correct information we need. It’s that one out of ten moment where you get overwhelmed by your taxes and end up writing down a nickname for your child that doesn’t match their legal name. Then your return gets rejected because the IRS immediately does a legal name and social security match for everyone on your tax return.
Bringing these documents are not only required for us to do your taxes, but it will save time and money in the long run. Bring these documents in with you and we will make sure they match all the information you provided us with so we can prevent any problems later. Anywhere you go, they will and should ask you for this information. We are all going through the same information in order to make sure everything is accurate up front.
If you are getting your taxes prepared by someone who isn’t asking for this information, then you need to consider going to someone else. Either this person doesn’t know that they are supposed to see this information, or they just don’t care. Either way, this should be an indicator that this isn’t the place to trust your personal information with.
Whether you worked for the same company or multiple companies in the previous tax year, you need to gather all of your W2’s. These are forms provided by businesses you have worked for in the previous year that summarize your income for that previous year.
If you are self employed, you may have received 1099-MISC forms from any client you did over $600 of work for. These forms will need to be brought to your tax preparer. Any form that shows you earned money for the previous tax year will likely be needed by your preparer.
These forms will typically come in an envelope that says ‘important tax information included’ or ‘important tax documents’. When you see these arrive in the mail, file them in a safe place until you meet with you tax preparer.
Any potential deductions you may have, it is important that you gather all the information you have and bring them in for us to review. Some of these will include money you have paid on your mortgage interest, charitable donations, property taxes, real estate tax, and more.
If you have paid interest on your mortgage, then you should receive a Form 1098. If you tithe to your church or give any charitable organization money, find a way to document this giving whether it is a signed letter or form. Any personal property taxes paid should come with a receipt for documentation. All of these documents, receipts, and proof of payment are important documents you need to bring to your tax preparer.
Some of these items may not be deductible on your individual return, but it is important you still provide them in order to allow the preparer to do their job to the fullest to guarantee they have have checked every avenue possible for getting you money back on your return.
When it comes to potential credits, these can be the biggest money savers when doing your tax return. These are going to be some of the most important items you can bring to your tax preparer to help them ensure you are getting the most back on your return.
Previous Years’ Tax Returns
If this is your first time meeting with a tax preparer or you are meeting with a new tax preparer, bringing your previous five years’ tax returns is very beneficial. If you don’t have access to all of these previous returns, then bring in any previous returns you have access to.
The reason we ask for the previous five years’ returns is because there are certain credits that can carry over within this time frame that can benefit you on the current year’s tax return. If you don’t have access to this information, then you are missing out on potential credits that can be gained from having all this information on your return.
We want to get you the most on your return and keep you from missing out on any potential money. Having the previous five years’ returns can help us guarantee that.
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Your kids or anyone you can claim as a dependent on your tax return is going to be a huge tax credit for you on your tax return. Throughout the year, there are a lot of expenses when it comes to raising and taking care of your children. Some of these expenses can be used and applied on your tax return to make up for some of those costs.
In order to get you this tax credit, we will need the dependent’s legal name, social security number, date of birth, and in some cases proof that they lived with you. If you are applying for a credit that requires you to provide proof that the child lived with you, you can provide this by getting a letter from their school, clergy, doctor, or social services. If you have mail that comes to your house with their name and your address on it, that will work as well. Any of these ways that you can prove they actually lived with you can help you in applying for certain credits.
If you have a child that is under the age of 13 and you pay daycare expenses, there are tax credits for that as well. You will need to bring in the amount spent on daycare services and the name of the daycare. If the services were provided by an individual, you will need to provide the person’s full name, social security number, and address. If the services were provided by a business, you will need the name of the business, the address, and their tax identification number.
College Tuition and Expenses
If you or anyone in your household, whether it be your spouse or children, have attended or are attending college, then any college expenses paid within the previous year can be used as a significant tax credit on this year’s returns.
For tuition costs, whoever prepares your taxes will need the 1098-T forms for anyone in your household who had tuition costs in the previous year. These forms are usually only accessible through the student’s online school account. This document will show the total cost for that year’s tuition expenses and will include any scholarships that were applied towards that cost.
Even if the student took out student loans to cover these expenses, this document still needs to be brought in because there are tax credits for the money that will have to be paid back at some point on these loans.
Another expense besides tuition that can be used as a tax credit is how much was spent on books for classes. In order to use these book expenses as a tax credit, you will need to provide receipts documenting the actual costs spent on books, whether you get that receipt off of your Amazon account or your school’s bookstore account.
These expenses cost many taxpayers a pretty penny each year, so it is important to get this information in order and together to help your tax preparer find tax credits that will save you the most money.
Another huge expense are business expenses. Depending on the type of business, there are different documents that are important to bring in for your tax preparer.
If you have a partnership or an S Corporation that has its own return, you will file a Form 1065 or Form 1120s respectively. If your business is set up as a sole proprietor, you will file a Schedule C and at minimum will have to provide a list of expenses for that business.
If you are new to using business expenses as tax credits, all this can seem a bit overwhelming. If you are unsure of what to bring in, you can bring in any documents, receipts, or forms you think would be beneficial to your tax preparer that will help them figure out your business expenses. The important thing is to make sure you have a way to show what expenses came in and went out for your business in the previous year. Just realize that it may cost a little more to have your preparer go through these documents for you.
A couple of business expenses that can be used on your returns are mileage and home office space. In order to claim mileage as a business expense, you need to be able to provide the total mileage driven for business related trips for that year. If you work from home, you can claim your home office as long as you have the square footage of you home, the square footage of your office, cost of utilities for the year, and cost of homeowners and renters insurance.
All of these items are important to have for your tax preparer and will be used towards your business portion of your return.
Coming Prepared Will Benefit You
While it can seem overwhelming at the amount of documentations, files, and information you need to bring in to your tax preparer, it is worth the extra effort to know that you are providing your preparer with all the information they need in order to save you the most on your tax return.
Preparing before your meeting and making sure you have all the required documents, will help your tax preparer be the most efficient in preparing your taxes at the highest benefit to you. Things will move faster and smoother.
We hope this was helpful in providing you a tax prep for what to bring to your tax consultant. While there are more items that you could bring in, this is just a list of the main ones. If you have any questions, please contact us at (417) 725-3924 we would be happy to answer them.
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