Monday, January 18, 2016
WHAT I NEED TO PREPARE YOUR 2015 TAX RETURNS
I want to make sure you take advantage of all the tax deductions and credits to which you are entitled – but I can only do this if you give me complete and accurate information.
When providing me with your tax information be sure to include all of the following information (if it applies to your situation):
* Full names, as they appear on the Social Security card, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for you, your spouse, and all dependents.
* Relationship of all dependents, and whether or not, and how long, they lived with you.
* W-2 forms (all copies) and the final pay-stub for the year for all of your employers. Make a copy of your W-2s to keep with you before sending them to me.
* All 1099s (for interest, dividends, gross proceeds, pensions, distributions from a Qualified Tuition Program, and other income), 1098s (for mortgage interest, contribution of a motor vehicle to charity, student loan interest, and tuition and fees), and K-1s and all attachments (for partnerships, sub-S corporations, estates, and trusts) from all sources.
* Any 1095-A, 1095-B, and 1095-C you receive regarding health insurance coverage.
* All year-end statements and information from brokerage and mutual fund accounts and any AVERAGE COST STATEMENTS received from a mutual fund on the sale of fund shares.
* A detailed listing of-
1. itemized deductions (unreimbursed medical payments, charitable contributions, and job-related, job-seeking, and investment expenses),
2. rental income and expenses, and/or
3. self-employment income and expenses.
I don’t need to see actual bills, receipts, or cancelled checks. For the most part I just need numbers. Do not send me a pile of medical bills and receipts and insurance statements and expect me to sort through them to determine your allowable medical deduction.
I also do not need to see proof or acknowledgement of each of your individual cash donations. I only need a listing of your contributions. FYI you can only deduct contributions for which you have hard copy documentation. I do, however, want to see any receipts, acknowledgments or listings for non-cash contributions –clothes, books, household items, furniture, etc - to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or your church.
When I say “I only need numbers” I mean specific numbers for deductions you are claiming. “Claim the maximum” or “Whatever I am allowed” or “Same as last year” is not appropriate. The maximum is what you actually paid – and you are allowed what you actually paid! I need you to tell me “$1023.50” or “$20.00 per week for 50 weeks” or “4638 miles”!
If any of the following situations apply to you I will need additional information -
IF YOU SOLD STOCK, BONDS, OR MUTUAL FUND SHARES – I need the date of purchase and cost of the investment sold. This information may be included in the Year-End Consolidated Form 1099 Statement you received from the brokerage firm or mutual fund house. If cost basis information for all trades is not included on this statement have your broker provide you with a “profit and loss” report for all the year’s trades that reconciles to the Form 1099B for each account. If you sold an investment you inherited I need to know number of shares you inherited and the date of death of the person from whom they were inherited.
IF YOU SOLD REAL ESTATE – I need the Closing/Settlement Statements for both the purchase and sale of the property, plus the cost of improvements made to the property over the years and any expenses of sale paid separate from the closing.
IF YOU PURCHASED REAL ESTATE – I need the Closing/Settlement Statement for the purchase of the property. For rental property I will need the separate amounts of “assessed value” for land and improvements from the tax bill.
IF YOU RECEIVED DISTRIBUTIONS FROM AN IRA – I need the year-end statements for all IRA accounts.
IF YOU RECEIVED DISTRIBUTIONS FROM A PENSION PLAN – I need to know if you rolled-over the distribution to an IRA of “took the money and ran”.
IF YOU ARE PAYING ALIMONY – I need to know the Social Security number of your ex-spouse, the amount of alimony paid for the year, and any other required payments, such as health insurance premiums, real estate expenses, that you are making on behalf of your ex-spouse.
IF YOU PURCHASED A CAR, TRUCK, SUV, MOTORCYCLE, BOAT OF AIRPLANE – I need to know the amount of sales tax paid.
IF YOU REFINANCED A MORTGAGE – I need the Closing/Settlement Statement for the refinance and the term of the new loan.
IF YOU DONATED A CAR TO CHARITY – I need to see all the paperwork you received from the charity, especially the Form 1098-C, plus the original cost and date of purchase of the car.
IF YOU HAVE GAMBLING WINNINGS – I need to see all W2-Gs, details of all your gambling losses, regardless of the “category” of gambling (slots, tables, raffles, lottery, racetrack, etc), and any gambling log you kept.
IF YOU HAVE DEPENDENTS IN COLLEGE – I need all Form 1098-Ts received and all the “Burser’s Reports” for the year that show tuition and other payments. You may be able to print-out a financial report from the college’s website. I also need to know what was spent on course-related books, supplies, and equipment. If you have taken a distribution from a Section 529 Qualified Tuition Program I need to know the cost of room and board.
IF YOU PAID FOR CHILD CARE, WHETHER DIRECTLY OR THROUGH A FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT – I need the name, address, Social Security or Employer Identification number, and amount paid for all child-care providers. If you have more than one child I need to know how much you paid for each child. You may be able to get detailed statements from the provider(s).
IF YOU ARE A NEW JERSEY RESIDENT AND YOU OWN YOUR HOME – I need the Lot, Block, and, if applicable, Qualifier numbers of your home.
If this is the first year that I am preparing your tax returns I will also need to see copies of your 2014, 2013, and 2012 federal and state returns.
Your Tax Preparer
FYI - your tax preparer may also need your driver's license number for the first time this year.
Please note – I no longer accept any new clients. This post is for information only and should most definitely NOT suggest that I am a potential tax preparer for you.
Posted by Robert D Flach