The Papers Your Accountant Depends On
If one of your goals in life is to retire early, then you will need to start getting all of your finances in order. This includes reducing your debt, increasing savings and minimizing your tax burden. An experienced accountant can help you with the taxes by ensuring that you get every possible deduction. However, the best tax preparer cannot work miracles. Make sure your accountant has everything necessary by providing the following paperwork.
Your Most Recent Tax ReturnLast year’s tax return can provide your new accountant with some valuable insight. You can also request to have it reviewed for mistakes. You can claim missed deductions in the following tax year, so it’s always a good idea to have the return reviewed.
All W-2s and 1099s
Copies of your Form W-2s and any 1099-MISC forms will be sent to the IRS, and they will expect to see the income reflected on your return. These legal documents are a required part of your return, and you cannot expect your CPA to file without them. Employers must send them out by February 1st of each year. If you have not received yours or if it has been misplaced, call human resources and ask for a replacement.
As someone who is planning for retirement and saving money, you may have some interest bearing accounts you will need to pay taxes on. Financial institutions issue 1099-INT forms to reflect the interest you have earned.
Any profit or loss resulting from your partnership in a business or your shareholder share of a corporation must be reported. Bring the Schedule K-1 to your tax accountant, so the information can be transferred to your tax return.
Gather Deductions on Property
Mortgage interest and property taxes can be deducted from your income tax bill, so you should be sure to take that paperwork to the accountant. Turn in any copies of Form 1098, your mortgage interest statement and property tax statements.
Receipts are Golden
Receipts not only help you remember all the deductions you can take, but they also serve as proof that you paid the expense and it was legitimate. However, you don’t want to hand your accountant a jumbled shoebox of receipts. It’s better to turn over a small accordion file with receipts sorted by type of expense. You can also download an app you can use to photograph, record and sort receipts throughout the year.
It’s Never Too Much
The fact is that you can never hand your accountant too much paperwork. If it could have an impact on your taxes, then you should turn it over for review. It’s better to have your accountant tell you something is not needed than to delay the return because you have to go back for another form. Be organized with the papers out of respect and to make the process go faster.
Getting your taxes in order and minimizing your tax bill will help you prepare for retirement. You can take the extra money you once gave to the IRS and invest in your retirement. A good CPA can assist you with this task, but you should be prepared by gathering the necessary paperwork. With a little planning and the right assistance, you can lower your tax burden.
Elaine Beckam is a freelance writer for Accountant.org, where you can find a large directory of accounting services and resources in your area.
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