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It’s that time of year again. Confusion stress and seemingly endless headaches. It’s tax season. For most people, the thought of doing their taxes is panic-inducing. In fact, 28% or roughly 1 in 4 Americans cited high taxes as a source of constant stress in their life. If you’re self-employed a freelancer or a business owner this stress is especially worrisome given that you’re more likely to be audited. There is an easy way to avoid this stress and that is to plan ahead by gathering the correct documents and contacting your CPA early.
But exactly what documents do you need? Since this can be kind of a complex question we wrote a list of all the documents needed to file taxes quickly and easily. What are The Documents Needed to File Taxes? When it comes to filing taxes your first question may be what do I need for taxes?
Some of the first documents you’ll need are ID, in this case, a drivers license will work perfectly. As well as the social security number for yourself and your dependents. This will help verify your identity to your tax preparer and will help make corroborating other information easier.
The first document you’ll need to start to prepare taxes is anything related to the income that you’ve generated this year. These documents are about anything related to your income from any activity whether active or passive. The first document you’ll probably need is a W-2. This is the most common piece of income information it states the amount of taxes that are withheld from your paycheck each year. It will help determine if you need a refund or if you owe money in back taxes. Any document related to unemployment or tax refunds for example form 1099-G.
The next forms you’ll need are Forms that have to do with investment income like stock option information, Form 1099, and K-1s. These can be documents related to any kind of investments from stocks to bonds to dividends. Social security Payments and benefits found on form SSA 1099. This form contains the number of social security benefits you may have received in the previous year. Information about payments from IRAs and pensions found on forms 8606 and form 1099-R.
When it comes to tax deductions you may be wondering what to bring to tax preparer to show that you are entitled to the deductions you’ve earned. In most cases, If you take the standard deduction there is no documentation needed. Though the standard deduction if you take itemized deductions it is more complicated and requires more documentation. You’ll need to bring information about childcare costs. These include the amount paid as well as the tax id, address, and name. This gives you the documentation you need to apply for the child tax credit. You’ll also need to bring information about theft and casualty losses. These documents should include the cost of the damage and any reimbursements from insurance companies. Since charitable contributions are often a large deduction to many people you’ll need to provide a lot of documentation about any donations you’ve made. These include proof of the cash amount donated and proof of and miles driven.
Before you pay taxes on the income that you’ve earned you need to adjust it by reducing your income by a certain amount. These adjustments to your income are called for AGI deductions they help drive down taxable income and increase the size of your refund. The first documents you should collect are documents about the interest that you’ve paid on student loan debt. This can be debt for your children your spouse or yourself. The maximum amount you can take is $2500 per year. The next documents you’ll need are about health insurance payments for self-employed people. Under the Affordable Care Act, Self-employed individuals can deduct 100% of their health insurance premiums as long as their not on their spouse’s plan.
Documents about contributions to your IRA are also important for tax purposes. Contributions to your IRA can be a deduction from your adjusted gross income depending on your tax bracket. You’ll also need any documents about any energy credits you may be eligible for. These can be manufacture certifications or receipts for things like energy efficient windows and solar panels. And any documents related to Educator expenses. These expenses include receipts for anything paid for professional development like books and supplies.
One of the most important parts of tax return preparation is ensuring that you’re paying the correct amount of taxes not over or underpaying. If you want to avoid overpaying your taxes in the current year you need to bring documentation about the amount of taxes that you’ve already paid. This can include documents about taxes you’ve paid on real estate. Taxes paid on personal use property and local and state income taxes that you have paid.
One of the questions people ask after “what do I need for my taxes” is “what other information should I give my tax preparer?” Some helpful information would be bank information if you using a direct deposit system. This includes things like your account number and bank routing numbers. You should also include any information about foreign banking accounts. This includes things like the account numbers, the name of the bank, its location and it’s the highest balance during the year.
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