Tax time is here again and this is the year that you don't wait till the last minute to file your taxes, right?…..Right? Remember what happens when you don't file your taxes or file late? If it has become a burdensome chore trying to file your own taxes, it might be time to hire a tax professional.
Three years ago, I hired a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) to help me with my taxes and it was one of the BEST decisions of my life. After sitting down with my CPA to finish filing our taxes for the tax year, it made me wonder what you would need to bring if you were meeting with a tax accountant for the first time. The following is checklist of items that your tax preparer will most likely request for you to bring to the appointment to make sure the meeting is as effective as possible.
Tax Organizer Checklist: Meeting With Your CPA
1. A copy of your most recent tax return
If you feel there might be some discrepancies on some of your older returns, it would be wise to bring those along, too. A good CPA should be able to scan over your previous tax returns and see if anything stands out.
2. Form W-2, wages, etc.
This is pretty self explanatory. Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, is used to report your wages for the year and the taxes withheld from them. Your employer is required to send you a 2009 W-2 by Feb. 1, 2010. Keep this in mind when you are scheduling your appointment with the tax professional.
3. Form 1099, interest, dividends, etc.
The different types of Form 1099 are used to report various types of income from interest you receive on a savings account to money you may receive when you perform contract jobs as a self-employed individual. For example, we received 1099's from my broker/dealer LPL Financial for my income, Google, our brokerage accounts with LPL Financial, and also our savings accounts from our local bank.
More from GFC, Below
4. Schedule K-1, income for loss from partnerships as corporations, etc.
Schedule K-1 is used to report individual partner or shareholder share of income for a partnership or an s corporation. Items from the K-1 are transferred to the individual partner or shareholder personal tax return.
More Tax Documents to Bring to Your Accountant
5. Forms 1098, mortgage interest, and property tax statements.
Making a house payment is never fun (unless it's the last one), but one perk is that mortgage interest is a tax-deductible expense. If you escrow, you'll want to call the mortgage lender than has your loan so that you can get a record of your total interest paid. If you don't have your property tax bill handy, you can call the County office and they'll be able to pull your records for you.
6. Brokerage statement from stock, bond, or other investment transaction.
- Account Statements. You'll want to bring statements that pertains to all your investment accounts. What if you don't have all of them? In that case, try to have at least the year end statement for the past couple years. If you don't have the hard copy, you can always check with the brokerage firm to see if you can print them off online.
- Confirmation Statements. These will be handy for any transactions that occurred in your taxable investment accounts. If you've recently liquidated an investment for a loss or gain, you'll need to know what you paid for it (cost basis).
7. Closing statements pertaining to real estate transactions.
Buy a home, sell a home, have rental property? If so, bring any supporting documents.
8. All other supporting documents, schedules, checkbooks, etc.
9. Any tax notices received from the IRS or other taxing authority.
Did you get a nasty gram for the IRS? Better bring it. In addition to this, if you have filed your taxes on your own, via either e-file or TurboTax, it would be a good idea to bring in your most previous tax returns.
Can't Bring Too Much
If there is any doubt in what documents you should bring, I suggest you bring it all. Your CPA would prefer to bring too much than not have that “one” document that they need.
Have you met with a tax professional? How did your experience go?
This post is featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance.