Easier said than done. Everyone can agree that getting all of your paperwork over to the tax preparer in due time for filing is easier said than done. We wait for forms from banks, employers, pension administrators, the government (local, state & fed), healthcare organizations....... and on and on. Oh, and they are all working on a different timeline. Then, let's collect every receipt for every aspirin, copay, charitable donation, tax paid..... and on and on.
Easier said than done.
So, how do you effectively put together the jigsaw puzzle of prepping your tax package? Let's work the problem backwards.
Who is going to file your taxes? Communication is key - reach out to the CPA or tax service that will be filing on your behalf to discuss the most efficient way to get the documentation into their hands. If it is someone you've worked with in the past, they will have key directives based on past years' filings. Don't have a CPA or a chosen filing service? There's no time like the present. Contact your financial advisor or lawyer for a qualified referral.
Speaking of financial advisors - give them a call too. The management of your money is key in the tax process. They as well may have resources for you to lean on.
Make a check list. To effectively file your taxes, you'll need to assemble the documentation.
Here's an abbreviated version -
Do you work? You’ll be getting a W2 from each employer
SSA1099 for Social Security payments
1099 R is for pensions, annuities or IRA distributions
Other types of 1099s include interest statement from bank accounts, dividends, business income or proceeds from sales.
Payments: Receipts showing you’ve paid local, fed or state income taxes
A 1098 will account for interest you’ve paid on a home mortgage
A complete list of your medical/dental/vision expenses that you paid for out of your own pocket. This includes premiums, prescriptions and health care services.
Did you donate to charity? Include all receipts
Property taxes receipts
1095A if you purchased insurance through the Marketplace/Exchange
Other Credits or Adjustments: Definitely reach out to your CPA or tax service to discuss capturing credits for any of the following:
Educational expenses or student loan interest (1098T or 1098E forms)
Most importantly, you do not have to go it alone. Again, seek the guidance of your financial advisors - they may have partner resources that can come directly to you. Additionally, there are professional and community resources at the ready this time of year.