The Shoebox Files
What Your Accountant Needs at Year End

Zen Mensch Accounting

Some years back I was sitting with a couple, routinely preparing their return when Charles matter of factly mentioned,  “Oh, we didn’t tell you we’re divorced?.”

Okay, You do not have to tell us everything. But there are some things your tax preparer needs to know. Clients often forget to bring the following information:

When they paid their estimated taxes, and how much (do not estimate!). How many miles they drove for business ( “use last year’s figure” will not be sufficient documentation for the IRS). Social security number of their new child.  Residential utilities if they are claiming the home-office deduction.  K-1’s (k what?). For a comprehensive list, click here:

It’s also helpful if you open your tax documents before your appointment and, if you are self-employed, to summarize your expenses by category (not on bathroom tissue, please.)  Sure you get a bigger deduction if your CPA does more work, but there are better ways to minimize your taxes.

Two years ago Cynthia, one of my favorite clients called in June to tell me she and Charlene had bought a house together.  Come to realize they were married and hadn’t informed me (taxes had already been filed.) The next year I was smarter, and before I hit “file” I asked them if there were any changes — “oh yes, Clarissa, our newborn”.

Your CPA is not a mind-reader, although she may be clairvoyant.  For the best results this tax season, be organized and informative.

NOTE: This article is presented exclusively for informational purposes and state and federal tax laws are subject to change. This article is not intended to substitute for obtaining tax or financial advice from a tax or other business professional. Names and situations may have been altered for illustration purposes.

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