Yes, you *thought* 2017 was in the rearview mirror, didn’t you?
Well, not for the IRS it isn’t.
That’s because, as you probably know, we are now beginning the process of doing what we do best: effectively, legally, and ethically reporting our clients’ financial lives to the government for maximum savings — i.e., tax return preparation.
And while the government last week set the date for when they will actually begin accepting electronically-filed returns (Monday, January 29, 2018), that doesn’t mean that we can’t get started on pulling together what we need to have your return ready to file ASAP.
(In fact, it’s almost always a great idea to file your return as early as possible in the season … not just for peace of mind, but also because it prevents fraudsters from using your information to steal any refund that might be headed your way.)
So, to that end, I’ve put together my annual tax preparation checklist of what you’ll need to have for an effectively-prepared tax return. This is meant to be informational for you, and as something you can hold on to over the following weeks as you begin the process of excavating your financial files.
There may be certain situations where we’ll need other documentation to get you even more deductions. But, of course, we’ll let you know about that, should the situation arise.
And also, just to remind you, this is also the last tax return we’ll be filing for you under the “old” tax code. It will be interesting to have us compare what your taxes would look like under 2018 rules (at least on a very basic level), which we’d be glad to do for you, when you come in.
You see, I truly do pity those who attempt to wade through all of the different tax codes and forms on their own, and not devote a week’s labor to the transaction. It really doesn’t pay to “go it alone” for certain tasks.Ashley Forrest’s 2018 Tax Preparation Checklist
“In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction. Your life is a product of choices.” – Dr. Kathleen Hall
With all of the changes every year (and, of course, that’s especially true THIS year), filing your taxes on your own is not for the faint of heart. That’s even with nice-looking softwares on the market which purport to make it easy for you.
But that’s what we’re here for. Let us be your easy button.
Below is a list of what you will need during the tax preparation process. Not all of them will apply to you — probably MOST will not. Nonetheless, it’s a useful checklist for all West Michigan taxpayers.
Before you get overwhelmed: yes, this is a long list — but it’s the unfortunate reality of our tax code that it’s not even comprehensive! But these items will cover 95% of our West Michigan clients. Really, this is for ensuring that we’re able to help you keep every dollar you can keep under our tax code.
Even if for some strange reason you won’t be using our cost-effective services this year, feel free to use this list as a handy guide…
Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number
Employment & Income Data
W-2 forms for this year
Tax refunds and unemployment compensation: Form 1099-G
Miscellaneous income including rent: Form 1099-MISC
Partnership and trust income
Pensions and annuities
Jury duty pay
Gambling and lottery winnings
Prizes and awards
Scholarships and fellowships
State and local income tax refunds
Health Insurance Information: NOTE — despite the passage of tax reform that changes this information for 2018 taxes, we still need it for 2017 taxes.
* All 1095-A Forms from marketplace providers (if you purchased insurance through a Marketplace)
* Existing plan information (policy numbers, etc.)
* If claiming an exemption, your unique Exemption Certificate Number
* Records of credits and/or advance payments received from the Premium Tax Credit (if claiming)
Residential address(es) for this year
Mortgage interest: Form 1098
Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S
Second mortgage interest paid
Real estate taxes paid
Rent paid during tax year
Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID
Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV
Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B
Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R
Capital gains or losses
Auto loans and leases (account numbers and car value) if vehicle used for business
Student loan interest paid
Early withdrawal penalties on CDs and other fixed time deposits
Personal property tax information
Department of Motor Vehicles fees
Gifts to charity (receipts for any single donations of $250 or more)
Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work
Unreimbursed expenses related to your job (travel expenses, entertainment, uniforms, union dues, subscriptions)
Education expenses (tuition and fees)
Child care expenses
Medical Savings Accounts
Tax return preparation expenses and fees
Estimated tax vouchers for the current year
Self-employment SEP plans
Self-employed health insurance
K-1s on all partnerships
Receipts or documentation for business-related expenses
State and local income taxes
IRA, Keogh and other retirement plan contributions
Casualty or theft losses
Other miscellaneous deductions
We’re here to help. Let me know if you have any questions.
Forrest Tax & Accounting Services