Tax Preparation: What You’ll Nee | Phoenix Tax Consultants

Tax Preparation Tips: What You Should Know Before Preparing Your Taxes

tax preparation

When it’s time to prepare your tax return, it’ll make your life easier if you’re organized and ready for your tax preparation appointment. Depending on your tax situation, not everything on our list will be relevant to your situation, but it’ll still help you be ready for your appointment. You can also view and download our tax planning checklist to keep with you as you gather everything you’ll need.

Gather Your Personal and Income Information

In order for your tax return to be accurate and free of mistakes, the IRS will need to know who is filing and who your dependents are. For this, you’ll need the following:

  • Full name and social security numbers for yourself, spouse, and all dependents  
  • Prior Years’ Tax Returns (if not prepared by us)  
  • Child care provider tax ID or Social Security Number and Address (including camps and babysitters)  
  • 529 contribution beneficiaries’ social security numbers 

You’ll also need to gather income information for both you and your spouse. This will include:

  • Income from jobs: W-2 forms for all jobs worked during last year
  • Investment income: 1099 forms (-INT, -DIV, -B, etc.), K-1s, stock option information
  • Income from state and local tax refunds and/or unemployment: 1099-G forms
  • Taxable alimony received (applies to divorces finalized before January 1, 2019)
  • Business or farming income: profit/loss statements, capital equipment information
  • Home business information (for those who work from home): home size, office size, home expenses, office expenses
  • IRA/pension distributions: 1099-R forms
  • Rental property income/expense: profit/loss statement, rental property suspended loss information
  • Social Security benefits: SSA-1099 forms
  • Income from sales of property: 1099-C forms – original cost and cost of improvements, escrow closing statement, canceled debt information
  • Prior year installment sale information: 6252 forms, principal and interest collected throughout the year, SSN, and address of payer
  • Other miscellaneous income: jury duty, gambling winnings, Medical Savings Account (MSA), scholarships, etc.

Information About Adjustments to Your Income

To possibly reduce the amount of your income that may be taxed, increase your tax refund, and lower the total amount that you owe, you should have the following information:

  • IRA contributions
  • Student loan interest
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions
  • Self-employed health insurance premium payments
  • Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE, and other self-employed pension plans
  • Tax deductible alimony (applies to divorces finalized before January 1, 2019)
  • Educator expenses

Itemized Deductions and Credits

There are some deductions and credits available from the government to help lower the tax burden placed on individuals and increase your refund. To make the most of all deductions and credits applicable to you, you’ll need the following information:

  • Child care costs: provider’s name, address, tax id, and amount paid
  • Education costs: 1098-T forms and education expenses
  • Adoption costs: SSN of the child, legal, medical, and transportation costs.
  • Home mortgage interest and points paid: 1098 forms
  • Investment interest expenses
  • Charitable donations: cash amounts and value of the donated property, miles driven, and any out-of-pocket expenses
  • Casualty and theft losses: cost of damage and insurance reimbursements
  • Miscellaneous tax deductions: union dues, unreimbursed employee expenses (uniforms, supplies, seminars, continuing education, publications, travel, etc.)
    • Unreimbursed employee expenses only apply to tax years prior to 2018 for federal returns but some states may still allow it
  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Energy credits

Taxes You’ve Paid

Make sure that you properly document all taxes you’ve already paid to avoid overpaying on these taxes. You’ll need documentation for:

  • State and local income taxes paid
  • Real estate taxes paid
  • Personal property taxes paid

Other Information

  • Estimated tax payments made during the year, prior year refund applied to the current year, and any amount paid with an extension to file
  • Direct deposit information: routing and account numbers
  • Foreign bank account information: location, name of the bank, account number, the peak value of the account during the year

Get Tax Preparation Help From the Experts at Phoenix Tax Consultants

When you let the tax experts from Phoenix Tax Consultants handle your taxes, you can be sure that your tax preparation will be completed quickly and accurately. We also pride ourselves on our customer service, which is why we do our best to provide prompt replies to your questions, value-added planning, tax-saving recommendations, and more. 

We don’t just process – we plan. At Tax Tacklers, we are disrupting the way people do their taxes. The best part is that with our virtual and in-person filing options, you can do your taxes from anywhere! 

With more than 30 years of local tax preparation, tax planning, and audit experience, why would you trust anyone else with your tax preparation? Schedule an appointment today!

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