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  • John Duston

Your Checklist for a Successful Tax Day

No two returns are exactly the same. So the list of document requirements will be slightly different for you and for someone else, since you each hold diverse types of properties and businesses. But in general, your accountant will expect you to provide these 7 things:

  1. Personal Information

  2. Business Information

  3. Income Information

  4. Tax Deductions

  5. Company financial statements

  6. Other business records

  7. Expected tax payments

Now let's break it down a little more. What exactly do you need to provide your accountant within each of these seven items?

1. Personal Information

It's crucial to accurately provide your accountant with your personal identification information. This is because each year, the IRS repudiates tax returns that do not hold resembling data - sometimes there are more than 4.7 million taxpayers who receive an IRS notice that they failed to submit matching tax information.

So what do you need?

Make sure you clearly provide your accountant with the following information:

  • Previous year’s individual income tax return

  • Every family member’s Social Security Numbers (SSNs)

  • Birthdate for each family member

  • Photo identity proof such as passport, driving license, or valid ID cards

  • Bank account information

2. Business Information

Tax season can be even more stressful for those who run and maintain a business. Business owners must submit supplementary data to get started with the tax filing process. So when you're filing for your business, provide your accountant with the following information:

  • Previous year’s business tax return

  • EIN (Employee Identification Number), if applicable

  • Partnership contracts, if relevant

  • Change in ownership data, if applicable

  • Business bank account details

3. Income Information

Income information should include all funds that you have acquired throughout the year.

Also, you should always evaluate your tax information to ensure the sums are proclaimed even in your accounts. If there are any miscalculations, work them out as soon as possible, before handing the documents over to your tax preparer. Here's what you should provide:

  • W-2 forms from the organization that employs you

  • IRS 1099 forms that include:

    • Form 1099-NEC (non-employee compensation)

    • Form 1099-G (unemployment allowance)

    • Form 1099-INT (interest income records)

    • Form 1099-DIV (dividend income records)

    • Form 1099-R (superannuation income)

    • IRS Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) for partnership earnings

    • Earnings from rental properties

4. Tax Deductions

Tax deductions help you save money when you file your taxes. Take out some time to track as many relevant costs as possible. Expenses that qualify tax deductions include:

  • Medical expenses receipts

  • Principal residence papers that comprise Form 1098 (Mortgage Interest Record), property tax documents, and costs associated with energy-saving enhancements

  • Child care expenses receipt

  • Charitable contribution receipts

  • Costs related to any rental assets

5. Company Financial Statements

If you run your own business, you should also provide your accountant with your company's financial records. These will include:

  • Profit and loss statement

  • Balance sheet

Also, note that if you use automated accounting software, you should generate automated financial reports and share them with your accountant to expedite the tax filing process.

6. Other Business Records

Company financial records are not always sufficient to fulfill your company's tax return to register your business costs and make sure that you find all the deductions you may qualify for. So, plan to also include these documents

  • Vehicle use record: If you use your vehicle for your business, keep a journal and present your accountant with an up-to-date distance chart that describes your vehicle use. There are several resources you can use to help you with this, like Stride which is a free app that you can download to help track your mileage.

  • Home office information: If you operate your business from your residence, send your accountant your home office information, which comprises the dimension of your residence office, rental amounts, and electricity bills.

  • Asset investment receipts: If you acquired any capital assets during the current financial year, send your accountant those investment receipts.

7. Expected Tax Payments

If you performed any estimated tax payments to the IRS during the current financial year, you must bring or send over those documents and receipts for tax payments made.

Additionally, you should work with your accountant to assess your expected obligation throughout the current financial year.

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