Tax time is upon us, and I’d like to offer you some taxpayer advice for preparing for your accountant meeting. There are certain forms that are needed each year. For a typical accountant, they need an engagement letter signed by the taxpayer (and spouse if applicable). We need to outline our understanding and expectations for the engagement as well as providing the taxpayer what they can expect from us. These letters spell out what we will be doing (filing preparing and filing your return) and documents that we need to make the process go smoothly. A common list exists for what we need. Any income that you have – perhaps a W-2, a 1099, or income from your business if an entrepreneur. We need any retirement forms received, such as a 1099-R, Social Security distributions, etc. Another common item is a 1099-DIV for any dividends your investments may have made for you.

As part of our due diligence process, we will ask you several questions. We may even have you fill out a questionnaire to make sure we are not missing any important information. Some of the questions revolve around your dependents. I’m sorry to say, but this is an area of tax law that is widely abused; therefore, we need to see proof you are able to claim your children on your return as dependents. In the case of divorced parents, we may ask for a copy of the divorce decree. This protects both the taxpayer and the accountant from making a mistake. There is now another dependent credit that you can possibly claim. Your accountant should ask you about that and see proof of the dependent status when applicable. If you’d like to learn more about due diligence, please see https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4687.pdf.

If you are still able to itemize your deductions, we will ask for support for medical and dental costs, as well as mileage driven. We’ll ask to see the receipts from goods and cash donated to charitable causes. Watch out on donations, though! Most go fund me donations are not deductible because they are going to an individual and not a charitable organization. It’s great to help out friends and family when needed, just be aware it may not be deductible for tax purposes. Another item we will ask about is any major purchases you had throughout the year. When itemizing your deductions, you can take the general amount for sales tax based on income levels. The general amount does not take into consideration any taxes paid for “extra” big tickets items like a car, boat, RV, etc. Keep your receipts handy so that tax can be claimed as well.

Here is my final piece of taxpayer advice for your accountant meeting. What we are trying to do as an accountant is get you the maximum allowable refund by taking legitimate deductions. There are certain deductions that you may not be aware of. That is where my tax expertise comes into play see Tax Preparation. If you have questions on your deductions, please call us to schedule an appointment. If you already know you need tax help, we are accepting new clients at this time. You can email us at [email protected] or call us at 931-286-2654.