Preparing For Tax Season

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511_3078799Preparing for your annual visit to your accountant for tax season doesn’t have to be a stressful time in your life. In fact, if you have kept organized records, or at least have all your receipts and documentation in one place, it can be very easy to do. 

Working with an accountant ensures you are able to take full advantage of any changes in the tax law which can be applied to your taxes. As there are always changes in the law this can be a real advantage over trying to do it on your own and not recognizing tax credits or offsets that you can use. 

Simple tips to get your tax forms in order include:

  • Make sure you have all your healthcare information available. This includes the new form you will need (1095-A) which should arrive in the mail and can also be printed from the website. This only applies if you used this service, not if you used private health insurance or if insurance is supplied through your employer.
  • Make sure all receipts for charitable contributes list the organization the contribution was made to as well as their contact information and charitable status which is a 501(c)(3).  Exempt organization such as churches or recognized religious group or organization may not require this specific information.
  • Ensure you have copies of your property tax payments.
  • Have W-2s and 1099 forms available for all jobs that you and your spouse have had in the tax year.
  • If this is your first time seeing an accountant list all individuals on your tax form by their legal names, not nicknames or middle names, and also include their social security numbers. Double check all social security numbers to makes sure nothing has been incorrectly transposed. 
  • Include all receipts for business related purposes in a separate file if you have a business. You will need to review these with your accountant to verify they can be used as tax deductions. 
  • Include all relevant bills for your home if you are claiming a home office. Talk to your accountant about the percentage of these bills what can be used on your tax return. 

Make an appointment to visit with your accountant well before the end of tax season. This ensures you won’t have to file an extension and prevents a last minute scramble if additional documentation is required to file.