I shared my “resolutions” last week, and it was really nice to see the response, and to know that many of our Long Island and Stamford clients are equally excited for the opportunity to put new legs to a new year … and to make 2017 (much) better than 2016.
I remember seeing a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Jun 2012) by Wilhelm Hofmann a few years back about resolutions, temptations, etc. and how we can control them — or be controlled by them. It’s probably worth sharing with you the key bit (and lest you think I’m a psychology nerd, I’m pretty sure I saw it referenced in an article in the NYT, but I’m not able to immediately find that particular link)…
Essentially, people with the best “self control” are those who end up having to *use* self control the least. They set up their lives in order to minimize temptation and create systems by which they are able to avoid being put into the position of being tempted. They conserve their energy and outsource as much self-control as they possibly can.
Sometimes our best method for sticking to our resolutions (both financial and otherwise) is not to “gut it out”, but to allow others, and our own pre-set boundaries, do the heavy lifting for us.
Which, of course, brings me back to the tax preparation process. If you’ll pardon the somewhat-clumsy segue here, may I humbly suggest something? Let us help you this year.
I truly do pity those who attempt to wade through all of the different tax codes and forms on their own, and not devote a week’s labor to the transaction. It really doesn’t pay to “go it alone” for certain tasks.
I’ve put together a handy little list of what you’ll need to bring in. There may be certain situations where we’ll need other documentation to get you even more deductions. But, of course, we’ll let you know about that, should the situation arise!
Also, an important note: As I mentioned before, the start of actual tax filing will not begin until January 23, 2017. This does NOT mean that we can’t begin the preparation process earlier (we can, if you really have your paperwork in order), but it does mean that the IRS won’t be issuing refunds or otherwise officially accepting returns until that point.
Michael Kessler’s Tax Preparation Checklist
“If you do not think about your future, you cannot have one.” -Michael Galsworthy
With the increased penalties associated with the ACA in 2017, and all of the other changes every year, filing your taxes on your own is not for the faint of heart — even with nice-looking softwares on the market which purport to make it easy for you.
But that’s what we’re here for. Let us be your easy button.
Below is a list of what you will need during the tax preparation process. Not all of them will apply to you — probably MOST will not. Nonetheless, it’s a useful checklist.
Before you get overwhelmed: yes, this is a long list — 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 list as a handy guide…
Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number
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
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)
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
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
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
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
State and local income taxes
IRA, Keogh and other retirement plan contributions
Casualty or theft losses
Other miscellaneous deductions
We’re here to help. Let me know if you have any questions.
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