1. Identification Information
It’s important that your tax preparer has access to certain identification information that can be used to verify that you are who you say you are. Your social security card is the best option, since your accountant will need your social security number for each member of your family.
As expert Dave Roos warns, “To claim dependents on your tax return, you will need their Social Security numbers as well as their full names and dates of birth. Every year, the IRS sends back hundreds of thousands of tax returns because the names and Social Security numbers on the forms don’t match.” You should also bring a second form of identification, which could include a driver’s license, military ID, or any state-issued picture ID card.
2. Copy of Most Recent Tax Return
While you may not qualify for the same tax deductions or write-offs as last year, providing your accountant with the previous year’s return can help them easily access information and calculate certain deductions without having to call you over and over again. If you’re meeting with a new accountant, this could also be a good opportunity to discuss any discrepancies that may exist between previous tax returns and what your best approach should b
3. Wage Statements
If you’re an employee at a company, you’ll receive a Form W-2 wage and tax statement from your employer. If you don’t receive this document by January 31, you may want to check with your employer to ensure there weren’t any mix-ups. Non-employees, which includes independent contractors and freelancers, should receive a Form 1099-MISC from each client they’ve worked with throughout the year. In this case, you’ll want to bring your accountant this form.
4. Additional Income Statements
Did you accrue any additional income throughout the year? This may include interest and dividend income from investments, unemployment income, or social security income. You should receive statements for each of these sources of income, if applicable. You’ll need to bring these in as well.
5. Real Estate Documents
There are a lot of different deductions that can be taken when it comes to real estate holdings. You should bring your accountant any documents pertaining to a recent home purchase, proof of paid mortgage or home equity loan interest, or proof of paid real estate and personal property taxes paid.
6. Proof of Expenses
If you want to get your deductions and credits, it’s imperative that you hand over documentation that proves your expenses. This includes receipts, invoices, medical bills, charitable contributions, IRA contributions, job-hunting expenses, mileage logs, education expenses, self-employment expenses, and more. It’s better to bring too much documentation than too little.
Come to Your Accountant Prepared
Filing a tax return is one of the more complicated financial tasks you have to handle each year. And because of the complex codes, room for interpretation, and different rules for various situations, it can be a stressful and challenging process. Instead of attempting to file your own tax return and getting frustrated over the process, why not let an accountant handle everything for you? Just make sure you bring in the documentation mentioned above, as well as anything else you believe may be important.
Thanks to the National Association of Accountants.