A little while back, the IRS released a study which showed that the average time it takes ALL taxpayers to do their taxes is a total of 18 hours.
The number is even higher if you don’t just use the 1040EZ form.
Seeing that figure once again reminded me of the service we get to provide. Truth be told, it doesn’t require those kind of man-hours for us to complete most returns, even those which are more complicated. But that’s mainly because — not to get too technical — we’re sort of experts at this stuff.
Already, we have many, many clients who have filed, have received refunds and have written us notes telling us that they’ve never been more pleased. This makes me happy, as you might imagine.
Well, we’d like to ask you a favor, and we have a simple way to help you help us, as it were. Yes, we’re extremely busy, but we’ve set aside some capacity for friends and family of our clients. The reason we’re willing to do this is that we already know that you are a good person to work with (else we would have released you as a client!)so it stands to reason that you associate with similar people.
Kessler’s Top 10 Tax Document Checklist (Again)
“Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.” – Paul Engle
With the increased penalties associated with the ACA in 2016, and all of the other changes every year, filing your taxes on your own is becoming much less ‘fun’ for regular taxpayers — even with nice-looking softwares on the market which purport to make it easy for you.
I truly do pity those inexperienced ones who try to muddle through all of the different codes and forms on their own,without devoting even a week’s labor to the transaction.It really doesn’t pay to “go it alone” for certain tasks.
Yes, this is a long checklist — but it’s the unfortunate reality of our tax code that it’s not even comprehensive! But these items will cover 95% of our clients. Really, this is for ensuring that we’re able to help you keep every dollar you can keep under our tax code.
Even if for some strange reason you won’t be using our cost-effective services this year, feel free to use this checklist as a handy guide…
1) Personal Data
Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number
2) Employment & Income Data
W-2 forms for this year
Tax refunds and unemployment compensation: Form 1099-G
Miscellaneous income including rent: Form 1099-MISC
Partnership and trust income
Pensions and annuities
Jury duty pay
Gambling and lottery winnings
Prizes and awards
Scholarships and fellowships
State and local income tax refunds
3) Health Insurance Information
* All 1095-A Forms from marketplace providers (if you purchased insurance through a Marketplace)
* Existing plan information (policy numbers, etc.)
* If claiming an exemption, your unique Exemption Certificate Number
* Records of credits and/or advance payments received from the Premium Tax Credit (if claiming)
4) Homeowner/Renter Data
Residential address(es) for this year
Mortgage interest: Form 1098
Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S
Second mortgage interest paid
Real estate taxes paid
Rent paid during tax year
5) Financial Assets
Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID
Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV
Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B
Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R
Capital gains or losses
6) Financial Liabilities
Auto loans and leases (account numbers and car value) if vehicle used for business
Student loan interest paid
Early withdrawal penalties on CDs and other fixed time deposits
Personal property tax information
Department of Motor Vehicles fees
Gifts to charity (receipts for any single donations of $250 or more)
Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work
Unreimbursed expenses related to your job (travel expenses, entertainment, uniforms, union dues, subscriptions)
Education expenses (tuition and fees)
Child care expenses
Medical Savings Accounts
Tax return preparation expenses and fees
9) Self-Employment Data
Estimated tax vouchers for the current year
Self-employment SEP plans
Self-employed health insurance
K-1s on all partnerships
Receipts or documentation for business-related expenses
10) Deduction Documents
State and local income taxes
IRA, Keogh and other retirement plan contributions
Casualty or theft losses
Other miscellaneous deductions
We hope to see you in here soon!
Michael J. Kessler, CPA
PS–Join us for our show, Business Profits In The Real World Saturday afternoons at 4 on 103.9FM WRCN. Even if you don’t own a business we might inspire you to start one! No radio? No problem! Listen live at LINewsRadio.com – or can’t listen live? Hear our past shows at MichaelKesslerCPA.com