Cleveland Tax PreparationMoving away from using TurboTax®, HR Block® or some other DIY tax software this year and getting your taxes prepared by a local Cleveland area tax professional? Good! You’ll be glad you did. Just make sure not to fall for any of these myths when choosing a tax preparation service outlined in our post “It’s Tax Season. Don’t Fall for these Tax Preparation Myths.”  Also keep in mind that when you use an enrolled agent to prepare your taxes, like Ken Weinberg, they are the only designation of tax professional required to complete 72 hours of continuing education every few years, is the highest credential awarded by the IRS and they can represent you to the IRS so you won’t have to deal with staying on hold with the IRS to answer questions about your return!
Of course we hope you’ve chosen Ken-Mar tax, but whatever Cleveland area tax professional you’re meeting with having a few things prepared will make filing your tax return easier.  We’ve compiled the shortest list possible of categories that will help you collect the information needed.   Keep in mind that not every category will apply to you!  The five categories to consider preparing for faster tax filing preparation are:

1. Personal information

You’ll need personal information for everyone listed on your tax return.  This will include legal name, birthdates and social security numbers for you, your spouse or dependents.

2. Income information

You’ll also want to bring detailed information and tax forms about your income that could include:

  • income from jobs (forms W-2, 1099, income statements if self-employed, etc.)
  • investments, (forms 1099, 1042, K1, 5498, etc.)
  • state & local income tax refunds,
  • alimony,
  • IRA/pension distributions, (1099, 5498, etc.)
  • social security benefits, (SSA-1099 and SSA-1042S)
  • unemployment income (1099-G)

3. Income adjustments

Make sure to prepare any thoughts, documentation or list on a spreadsheet the items that will be adjustments to your income and could include:

  • home buyer credits,
  • IRA contributions,
  • student loan interest,
  • medical savings account contributions,
  • self-employment health insurance
  • alimony paid
  • bad debt deductions
  • educator expense deductions

4. Itemized Deductions

Whether or not you will itemize your deductions is typically something your tax professional will advise on (another good reason to use a qualified, experienced and educated tax preparation professional).  As your income changes, your deductions change and your income adjustments change – the question of whether or not to use the standard deduction method or the itemized deduction method will vary.  We recommend preparing all the information for both methods and letting your tax professional advise you on which method will benefit you most.  Itemized deductions and credits could include:

  • charitable donations
  • child care costs
  • education costs
  • interest expense
  • business expenses (business use of home or car, business travel expense & entertainment expense)
  • employee business expenses (transportation, home office, work expenses not reimbursed, etc.)
  • medical and dental expenses
  • casualty, disaster, and theft losses

5. Taxes You’ve Paid

Don’t forget to be prepared with the amount of taxes you have paid in the tax year for which you’re filing.  These would usually include taxes such as real estate taxes and personal property taxes.

If you have any questions about how detailed your notes or records should be and what you need to bring to your tax preparation meeting at Ken-Mar Tax, don’t hesitate to call and ask, or request online, before your appointment.  Although there is no need to  bring boxes and boxes of receipts or archived paperwork, the more organized you are, the easier your return will be to prepare!