The IRS website contains over 800 forms and instructions and dozens of publications. Busy families just don’t have time to keep up with it all! We study the tax code and keep up with new developments so that you don’t have to. We offer year-round support for our clients and are happy to answer your tax questions throughout the year.
Our significant investment in computerized tax preparation and research software enables us to accurately and efficiently prepare returns for various types of entities including individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts, estates, and not-for-profit organizations. Whether you have started a new business or a new job, gotten married, had your first child, or just feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the tax return process, we would be happy to advise you.
Tax Preparation Checklist
- Last year’s taxes, both your federal and — if applicable — state return
- Social Security numbers for yourself, your spouse and all dependents
Gather all the documents that confirm the money you received during the previous year.
- W-2 forms. Employers must issue these by Jan. 31, so keep an eye on your mailboxes, both physical and electronic.
- 1099 forms. Each of these ends with a different suffix, depending on the type of payment you received. For example, form 1099-MISC is for contract work. If you’re paid via a third party such as PayPal or Amazon, you’ll likely get a 1099-K. Investment earnings show up on 1099-INT for interest, 1099-DIV for dividends and 1099-B for broker-handled transactions.
Deductions help reduce your taxable income, which generally means a lower tax bill. The key to claiming deductions is documentation — not only can it protect you if you’re ever audited, it can cut your tax bill by helping you remember what to claim.
You don’t have to itemize to benefit from some deductions. These are listed directly on Form 1040 or, to a lesser extent, on Form 1040A. More deductions are available if you itemize expenses on Schedule A.
Here’s a rundown of some popular tax deductions. Make sure you have documentation for each before you file:
- Retirement account contributions
- Educational expenses
- Medical bills
- Property taxes and mortgage interest
- Charitable donations
- Classroom expenses
- State and local taxes
Note that state income taxes paid should be on your W-2, but remember to add any state estimated taxes you paid during the year.
Credits are deductions’ more valuable cousins: They provide dollar-for-dollar cuts in any tax you owe. But as with deductions, you need documentation to claim them. Here are some popular tax credits:
- American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning credits
- Child Credit
- Premium Tax Credit
- Retirement savings contributions credit (also known as the Saver’s Credit)
Most of us have income taxes withheld from our paychecks to cover our tax liabilities; that amount is on our W-2 forms. But if you made federal estimated tax payments during the year, have this amount handy, too.
This tax checklist covers preparation issues common to most filers, but taxes are different for each of us. Be prepared to tailor the list above to your situation.