Tax Season

The Internal Revenue Service, better known as the IRS, opened the 2011 tax filing season by announcing that taxpayers have until April 18, 2011 to file their tax returns.  This year, Emancipation Day, a District of Columbia holiday, falls on Friday, April 15th.  By law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines the same way federal holidays do, giving taxpayers an extra three days to file.  The IRS suggests that taxpayers use e-file, which is the best way to ensure accurate tax returns and get faster refunds due to recent tax law changes.  For those not using an e-file, here are a few things to bring to your tax preparer, whether you are a business owner of any size, a homeowner, or a student.

January through the first half of April marks Tax Season, a period when Americans file their taxes with the state and federal government. In order to make filing your taxes as smooth as possible, here is a list of the paperwork you should prepare in advance.For every tax payer:

  • Last year’s Federal and State tax returns (for new clients)
  • Income/Wage statements:
    • W-2’s
    • 1099’s
    • Alimony received or paid
    • Commissions received statement
    • Brokerage account year-end statements
    • ESPP statements
    • Stock options sale papers
    • Rental property income and expenses
    • Partnership, S Corp, trusts, or estate yearly statements
    • Pension or retirement income statements
    • Social security income yearly statement
    • Unemployment income yearly statement
    • State income tax refund statement
    • Gambling and lottery winnings (and losses, if you have winnings)
  • Car, motor home, and boat registration paperwork
  • Donation receipts
  • IRA contributions
  • Child care expenses and provider information
  • Medical expenses
  • State taxes paid
  • Unreimbursed employment-related expenses
  • Job-related educational expenses
  • Casualty or theft losses
  • Foreign taxes paid

For Homeowners:

  • Mortgage interest year-end statement
  • Home equity year-end statement
  • Property tax information
  • If you sold your home, purchase and home improvement information

Businesses:

  • Income and expense reports
  • Mileage logs for autos
  • Receipts for business assets purchased

Students:

  • Tuition and education fees
  • Student loan information
  • Grants and scholarship information

By bringing all the necessary paperwork listed above, you will help make your tax preparation as quickly and easily as possible.  You receive most of these documents in the mail from January to February.  Organizing paperwork is a great, time-saving idea.  You can create binders for each year and in them, you should save receipts, pay check receipts, old Federal and State tax returns, and other important documents.  This is a great idea for two reasons.  The first reason is that you will be organized and, should you need a certain document, you will know where to find it.  The second reason is, if disaster or an emergency strikes, you can have all your important files in a secure location, since some of the documents cannot be replaced.  Organizing your important documents now will save you and your tax preparer from headache in the future!

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Taylor P.
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One Response to “Tax Season”

  1. Brad Fallon Says:

    Very informative post. Thanks for sharing this one. I have received my mail on the last week of February and I am preparing it now.

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