Be prepared before your visit to the accountant office! Having all your documents in order…
As most are probably aware, this year’s tax season is now in full swing. As this hectic season progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to meet with a tax professional, which is why it is best to meet with your CPA as soon as possible.
If you have already selected your CPA for this year, you’re on the right track. Entrusting the task of tax preparation to professionals is one of the wisest steps you can take to eliminate stress and save you both time and money. However, it’s important to ensure you are properly prepared for your tax consultation. Here’s how to make the most of your time with your CPA and what you’ll need to bring along to your tax preparation meeting.
3 Tips to Maximize Time Spent with Your CPA
In some instances, hiring a CPA may be accompanied with an upfront fee. However, that amount can easily be paid off in the long run. That is, if you take advantage of the time you spend with your accountant.
Here are 3 steps you should take after hiring a CPA:
Develop a Relationship
When you find a CPA that you trust and are comfortable with, it’s best to remain with them over the years and develop a relationship. Doing so will allow them to not only better understand your goals and objectives, but also become better equipped to assist you with your individual finances. He or she will be able to develop more effective strategies each year to save you increased amounts of money during the tax seasons and ultimately become your trusted, personal financial advisor. Furthermore, they then have the ability to easily point out any discrepancies or missing information.
For example, a CPA who is familiar with your financial situation or taxes can more easily recognize errors or omissions that could potentially hurt you. If you were to forget an important document, such as a mortgage statement for estate property taxes, a CPA, which you share a long-term relationship with, may already have the document on file or can quickly point out the mistake.
On the other hand, if you were to work with a new tax professional each year, they would not be as aware of certain essential details for your account.
Be Completely Honest
Withholding information from your CPA can only hurt you, so it’s important to provide all the necessary details required for the best tax preparation possible.
Your CPA is there to help with your taxes and to save you the most amount of money. In some situations, clients are embarrassed to report information, like certain medical expenses. However, your tax advisor is never there to judge you, but simply to help you. You should eventually feel comfortable enough with your professional relationship to disclose any financial matter.
Always Consult with Your CPA
During your initial meeting with your CPA, and during the following visits after, be sure to run any new ideas or purchases by them. They will be able to determine whether or not that decision is a wise one, or which alternative option would be more beneficial to reach your goals. As mentioned before, your CPA is essentially your trusted financial advisor, so be sure to clear new purchases or strategies with them first. Doing so can save you a lot of time and money during the future tax seasons to come.
What to Bring to Your CPA for Tax Preparation
In order to properly prepare your tax return, your CPA will need the following items:
- Identification Documentation. Before any tax preparation begins, you must verify that you are who you say you are. To do so, bring along your social security card and driver’s license or any other state-issued picture ID card. Also, bring the social security numbers of each member in your family.
- A Copy of Your Most Recent Tax Return
- Income-Related Statements. You’ll need to also bring along any income-related statements, such as your Form W-2. You should begin receiving these thru the month of January and February, and when you do, be sure to store them in a safe place. These statements include:
- Form W-2
- Form W-2G
- Form 1099-A
- Form 1099-B
- Form 1099-C
- Form 1099-DIV
- Form 1099-G
- Form 1099-INT
- Form 1099-K
- Form 1099-LTC
- Form 1099-MISC
- Form 1099-OID
- Form 1099-PATR
- Form 1099-Q
- Form 1099-QA
- Form 1099-R
- Form 1099-S
- Form 1099-SA
- Form SSA-1099
- Form RRB-1099
A full list of all such documents can be found here. If you received income during the year that is not included in these forms and exceeds $600, you must also report and pay taxes on that income.
- Expense-Related Statements. You’ll also want to bring in documents which detail any expenses within the past year that can affect your taxes. Examples of such documents include:
- Form 1097-BTC
- Form 1098
- Form 1098-C
- Form 1098-E
- Form 1098-MA
- Form 1098-T
- Business expenses
- Child care expenses
- Medical expenses
- Gambling losses
- Moving expenses
- Personal property tax
- Real estate tax bills
- Receipts for gifts to charity
- Rental expenses
What Do You Do if You’re Missing Any Documents?
If you are missing any documents, don’t panic. There are several ways to get these tax documents if you do not have them. For wage statements, such as a Form W-2 or Form 1099, contact your employer, as he or she is required by law to store copies of all such forms for at least four years. You can also contact the IRS to request copies. Either use the Get Transcript Online application, mail or fax over a Form 4506-T, or visit a local IRS taxpayer assistance center. However, be sure to carry out one of these actions before it is too late, as it generally takes time to retrieve such information.
Let Our Experienced CPA Assist You with Your Taxes!
Keeping up with your bookkeeping and taxes can be time consuming and stressful. That's why at Carson Thorn we offer business and personal tax return preparation for our monthly business accounting clients in the Raleigh area. Save time, money, and stress by contacting our CPAs today.
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