By mid-January, statistically, most Americans have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions – those promises you make to yourself to hit the gym, get more sleep or become more organized. But hopefully, you’re not like most Americans – especially if better organization is the goal. This year, before setting up your appointment with your tax preparer, take a little time to plan for the meeting in advance. These tips should help:
Everything In Its Place
You are going to start receiving a lot of important information in the mail. Many of the documents your tax preparer will ask you to provide will have the words “Tax Documents Enclosed” clearly printed on the envelope. Don’t just throw these items down with the rest of your bills and pre-approved credit card offers, set them aside in a large envelope, a file folder or basket as they are received. NOTE: Most of these documents should be in your hands by the first week of February.
Use The Tax Organizer Package
In the past, you may have received a tax organizer package in the mail as a reminder of the important documents you’ll receive that will be necessary to gather to file a complete tax return. Once you think you have collected all your important tax documents, compare them to the listings included in your tax organizer to verify that nothing is missing.
If your tax return will include income and expenses for business, rental or farm, feel free to work ahead and compile a summary of your income and expenses. Your tax organizer tool can help you organize more effectively because it will provide you with the different categories of income and expenses that your accountant has used in previous years.
Don’t Skimp On the Details
If you are planning on taking a deduction on your charitable contributions, be sure to provide your tax preparer with as much information as possible about your gift and the organization that benefited. When you make a financial contribution to a not-for-profit organization, your tax preparer is specifically looking for the name of the charity (or charities) you donated to, their contact information, the amount you donated and, if applicable, a letter of acknowledgement from the charity that states that your gift was received. If you donated clothing or household items to a charity, be sure to tell your tax preparer what you gave, who you gave it to and what it was worth.
Are you interested in learning more about how tax preparation can enhance your tax season experience? Listen to episode 9: taxes are like fishing on unsuitable on Rea Radio. On this 19-minute episode Melane Howell, CPA, tax expert, shares valuable tax tips to help individuals and businesses prepare for a successful tax season.
By Joss Celuch (New Philadelphia office)