CHARLOTTE: With football season winding down, basketball and hockey seasons in full swing, and baseball season right around the corner, there’s another season we all need to gear up for. That’s tax filing season…and it’s quickly approaching.
it’s important for you to contact your tax professional early to reserve a convenient time for your appointment. Your tax return can be done more accurately and in a shorter period of time if all of the information is available at the initial appointment, so being organized can help both you and your tax preparer.
Start preparing early for your tax appointment by compiling a list of the documents you expect to receive based on last year’s statements and this year’s activities. If you’re not sure of what documents you may need, call your tax preparer to discuss. As you start receiving your documents in the mail (usually around the end of January), mark them off your list and put them in a tax folder with the list to stay organized. Better yet, use a tax organizer if provided.
If employed, you will need to include your W-2. If you received income from interest, dividends, pensions, self-employment, government payments, or the sale of property, you will receive a Form 1099. It is helpful to bring the actual statements to your appointment.
Remember that all forms will not look alike; be sure to check the bottom of year-end statements that may be substitute 1099s. Also don’t forget to include any Schedule K-1s you receive from a partnership, an S corporation, or estate. If you had any income not reported on the forms listed above, make a note for your tax preparer to include it
If you sold stock during the year, you will receive a 1099 as described above that includes the gross proceeds. However the price you paid for the stock, the cost basis, is not listed on the 1099. If the stock was received as a gift or inheritance, other means of determining the cost will be necessary. For every stock you sold, you should include the basis for your tax professional to calculate the net gain/loss.
If you own a home, it is probable that you can itemize deductions. Each year, bring the property tax bill and the mortgage interest statement to your tax appointment. County vehicle tax and medical expenses are deductible if they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Prescription drugs, doctor, dental, hospital bills, medical insurance premiums, and the mileage to and from the doctor’s office enter into this category.
Charitable contributions are a good source of deductions. Contributions can be cash, property, or out-of-pocket expenses you paid to do volunteer work. If you drove to and from the volunteer work, you can take the actual cost of gas and oil or use the standard rate of 14 cents a mile. You need a receipt for any donation you claim.
This article contains general tax information for taxpayers and is not all inclusive. Each tax situation may be different, so don’t rely upon this information as your sole source of authority. Please seek professional advice for all tax situations. Remember, tax professionals are experts who keep current on tax law changes. They can save you time and offer insight on how to use the tax breaks available to you.
This is a good time to discuss with the tax professional any questions and changes in your financial situation that may have an impact on your future taxes.
Scott Boyar is a Charlotte-based CPA, PLLC, with 30 years of corporate and personal tax experience, providing full-time, year-round accounting services and tax support . He is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in North Carolina and New York.
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