As we approach another tax season, it’s time to ensure that you are well prepared for it. Of course, there will always be areas unique to your situation, but there are a few items that we see year after year that may affect you. So as you are gathering your information together to bring to your tax preparer, keep these things in mind to minimize the complications in preparing your return, and in turn, this will help minimize the cost to you!
It is usually pretty easy to remember your W-2 when it comes to preparing your tax return, but there are plenty of other forms the IRS requires that you may have received. These forms typically include forms that begin with numbers like 1095, 1098, 1099, K-1, etc. Be sure to bring all these with you for your tax preparation.
You are no longer required to carry health insurance coverage for each member of your family for the entire year. However, if you purchased health insurance from the marketplace, we will need a copy of the 1095-A you receive for the year. On a related note, let us know if you made any contributions to or received any distributions from a health savings account during the year.
Typically, when you donate non-cash items (i.e. clothes, furniture, books, etc.) to places like Goodwill and Salvation Army, they will give you a receipt signifying that you made a donation. What they often do not include on these receipts is item descriptions, the value of what was donated, and sometimes even the date of the donation. You will need to provide all of this information if the total of the donations is over $500 for the year. We cannot determine the value of the items, since only you know what was given, how much was given, what condition it was in, etc. Note that if you donate a vehicle with a value over $500, you cannot claim a deduction unless you attach to your return a copy of the contemporaneous written acknowledgment you receive from the donee organization. Also, any one item or group of similar items you give that have a value of over $5,000 will generally need a written appraisal.
Employee and Business Expenses:
If you are an employee and have job expenses you paid for personally, note that these expenses are not tax deductible for tax years 2018 and forward. If you are in this position, you may want to consider talking to your employer about being reimbursed for them. If you own rental property, a farm or a business, these expenses are deductible inasmuch as they are business related. It is vital to keep some sort of record for all your business expenses. For tax preparation, we prefer for these expenses to be categorized and summarized for the year. A special consideration for mileage and meals is that you need to document the what, who, when and business purpose of the expenses. While we don’t need the details to prepare your taxes, you need to keep this information stored and accessible in case of potential audits.
You can claim your child as a dependent if he/she is under age 19 (or a full-time student under age 24) if you provide more than half of his/her support during the year. You may also be able to claim older children, other dependents in your home or those in certain care facilities, depending on the circumstances. If you have children, parents or other dependents you would like to claim on your tax return, we will need to know the name, SSN, birth date, and how many months they lived with you during the year, for each dependent. If you have a joint custody agreement, you may also need to provide a copy of your Form 8332. If you or your dependent(s) paid tuition for higher education during the year, you will need to provide both the 1098-T from the institution and receipts substantiating your payments and/or loans. Lastly, for 2021, you will need to provide how much you received in the Advanced Child Tax Credit. These were sent out monthly, depending on how many children the IRS expects you to report on your 2021 return. We need to reconcile this on your tax return.
Note: you will also need to provide how much you received in stimulus payments for 2021.
If you are receiving a refund and would like to have it direct deposited into your account, we will need to know the account number, routing number and whether it is a checking or savings account. If you owe and would like to pay through direct debit, we will need the same information as well as what date you would like to pay the balance due (not later than the due date of the return). Please include this with all of your other tax information.
We look forward to helping you with your taxes this season and want to make your experience as pleasant as it can be. Our goal is your tax compliance while paying as little tax as is feasible. If you have any questions about any of these items, please let us know.
-Heritage Accounting and Tax Services, LLC