Make your tax list and check it twice
1/8/2014, 11:28 a.m.
OK, it’s time to pull together your 2013 tax records for your annual tax return. Probably not at the top of your list of favorite things to do!
But getting organized can save you money when you show up at your tax preparer’s office. Think about it – if you just have everything jammed in a shoebox and the tax preparer needs to sort through it, make sense of it, and tell you what’s still missing, that costs you money. After all, their time is valuable – especially at this time of year.
So exactly what do you need to bring to your meeting with a tax professional?
“The list of items you may need is long, but it’s not complicated,” National Society of Accountants (NSA) Executive Vice President John Ams said. “Make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to get it all organized ahead of time and your life will be much easier. Accountants love working with clients who are organized, and your tax return will be completed and filed in short order.”
Here’s what you typically need:
Mortgage interest statement (Form 1098)
1099 Forms: 1099-MISC for Work Performed as an Independent Contractor, 1099-R for Pensions & Retirement Income, 1099-SSA for your Social Security Income, 1099G for your State Tax Refund
Investment information: Year-End Statements for all investment accounts, such as brokerage accounts, retirement accounts (401k, 403b, IRA, ROTH, Annuities), etc. Remember your Form 1099-B for Sale of Stocks/Mutual Funds, if applicable, including your original purchase price for shares sold.
Investment-related expenses, including management fees charged by a financial advisor for non-retirement accounts, safety deposit box rental costs, etc.
Interest and dividend income statements
Medical and dental expenses, including medical insurance premiums
Insurance premium expenses for long term care, life insurance, etc.
Charitable contributions, including mileage and expenses incurred while volunteering
Home energy improvement receipts for energy-efficient heating and air conditioning equipment, windows, solar panels, etc.
Foreign bank account information, including foreign taxes paid
Unreimbursed employee business expenses for expenses you incurred on the job but for which your employer did not reimburse you
Sales tax records if you purchased a car, boat, RV, or mobile home in the tax year that may be tax deductible (depending upon whether Congress renews this tax benefit)
Lottery or gambling winnings/losses
Social Security/unemployment income
Self-employed business income and expenses
K-1 forms from partnerships, s-corporations, and estates
If you are self-employed, a detailed list of business inventory held on December 31 of the tax year
Income and expenses from rental properties
Estimated federal and state taxes paid, including a list of the check amounts and dates paid
Alimony paid or received
Record of purchase or sale of residence, including closing statements
Real estate and personal property taxes paid
Job-related educational expenses
Educational expenses for children
Childcare expenses and provider information
Job-hunting expenses, including a mileage log to log in each trip related to job-hunting
Social security card/number
Dependents’ Social Security numbers and dates of birth
Last year’s tax return
Tax preparation fees paid during the prior tax year
Looking for a qualified tax professional? NSA has an online directory you can use to identify candidates in your area. Check it out at
http://connect.nsacct.org/NSACCT/FindaProfessional or call (800) 966-6679.