A looming tax deadline, especially if you’re not prepared, can be one of the most stressful events of the year. For most people, there’s little to like about tax season. To prepare your tax return, you have to track your tax documents, locate the right tax forms and get everything filed correctly before the deadline. The uncertainty and stress associated with this process can make it feel like getting your return filed is a victory in its own right, even if a second thought is never paid to maximizing a tax return or minimizing a tax obligation.
If this sounds familiar to you, professional tax preparation services can save you plenty of headaches and stress this tax season, while also making sure that you get the best possible outcome. To help you navigate the process, this post will discuss what you need to bring to your accountant for tax preparation and offer some insight into best practices when it’s time to file taxes.
Basic Tax Return Documentation
Regardless of how much your earn, your tax preparer will need some basic income tax documents:
- Photo ID
- W-2 and 1099 forms
- Information about previous tax deductions
- Social Security numbers
- Direct deposit information
- Copy of previous year’s tax return
If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to provide adequate self-employment documentation. This includes profit-and-loss statements and receipts for self-employment expenses. If you made estimated tax payments, give your tax preparer copies of the receipts, as the total amount paid needs to be entered on your tax return.
Documentation to Support Tax Credits
When you file a tax return, you have the opportunity to reduce the amount of tax you owe by claiming certain credits. These are some of the most common tax credits, along with examples of the supporting documentation required to claim them. If you want to learn more about how tax credits can help your situation, look into tax planning services well before next tax season.
Child Tax Credit
You should provide the child’s Social Security number, school or daycare enrollment records, the child’s birth certificate, a lease or mortgage statement showing your residential address and documents showing how much you spent to support the child during the tax year.
You’ll need a copy of the 1098-T statement showing how much tuition was paid during the tax year. If you didn’t receive a copy of this form, give your tax preparer copies of canceled checks, tuition statements and other documents to help prove that you had valid education expenses during the tax year.
Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
The child and dependent care tax credit helps taxpayers cover childcare expenses or expenses associated with the care of someone who can’t physically or mentally care for themselves. You’ll need to provide the name, address and taxpayer identification number of every person who cared for your child or dependent.
Earned Income Tax Credit
To qualify for the earned income credit, you must be able to prove that you have earned low to moderate income throughout the year. You can do this with several types of income documentation, including pay stubs, W-2 forms and direct deposit transaction records.
Documentation to Support Tax Deductions
Tax deductions reduce your taxable income, making it possible to reduce the amount you owe the government at tax time. When you file your tax return, you may be able to claim some of the following deductions.
- Business expenses: Some professionals are allowed to deduct some of their job-related expenses on their tax returns. If you’re one of them, be sure to give your tax preparer receipts to prove how much money you spent during the year.
- Charitable contributions: If you donated money to charity, give your tax professional copies of all donation-related receipts.
- Mortgage interest paid: Your tax professional will need a copy of the 1098 form from your mortgage company. If you pay mortgage interest to an individual, you’ll also need that person’s name, address and Social Security number.
- Medical expenses: If you have significant medical bills, you may benefit from itemizing them on your tax return. To ensure your accountant deducts the correct amount, provide copies of hospital bills, canceled checks and other documents proving how much you spent on medical bills during the year.
Contact TPI Group for All Your Tax Preparation Needs
Working with an accountant is a great way to take the stress out of preparing your annual tax return. To avoid mistakes that could lead to an audit or large amount of tax due, always work with a professional like the ones at TPI Group. Contact us at (703) 288-1998 to learn more about our tax preparation services.