The beginning of another year means it’s time to get ready for the annual task of filing your tax returns. Whether you file as an individual, a business or both, you can get a head start by working with a tax professional to find every tax break to which you’re entitled.
If you’re working with a tax preparer for the first time, you’ll need to bring certain documents with you. They will likely include past tax returns, income statements and investment documentation, to mention a few. In the latter category, you may need to bring multiple years of paperwork to show capital gains or losses, which your tax advisor will explain.
Whether you plan to use the standard deduction or itemize, you will want to round up proof of payment for a mortgage, higher education loans, unreimbursed medical bills and retirement contributions. Your tax professional may suggest other areas that could yield tax deductions, as well as documents you will need to support income and expenses cited in your tax return if you’re a business owner.
WHEN YOU MEET
By giving your tax preparer the best information you can, you increase the odds of getting the most from your tax return. When you meet, you may have to show federally recognized identification such as a driver’s license, passport, and social security number, as well as possibly incorporation papers and a federal tax ID number if filing a business return.
Expect your tax preparer to ask questions in an effort to find every deduction and credit to which you are entitled, but don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have. Ultimately, your tax return is as good as the information you provide, so doing the prep work upfront can lower your tax bill.