Checklist To Get Ready For Tax Time!

By Heather Findon, CPA |

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At Bruce T Hall CPA, we understand that filing for taxes can be quite a challenge. Getting ready for a tax year can be viewed as a stressful or laborious task, but you can handle your taxes quickly and easily with a little preparation.

As experts in tax management, we’ve created a handy checklist to help you complete your taxes with as little stress as possible. Follow our checklist to prepare your taxes accurately and file on time so that you can get back to the other important things in life.

1. Documents
Gather all the documents that show the money you earned during the tax year, such as W-2’s.

2. Forms
Another important tip is to make sure your 1099 forms are in order. For example like the 1099-NEC if you’re self-employed, 1099-INT if you get income interest, 1099-DIV if you receive dividends, 1099-B if you sell stocks, bonds, derivatives, or other securities through a broker, 1099-K if you made third-party transactions, to name a few.

3. Retirement Contributions
The amount of retirement account contributions may can be taken as a tax deduction. Make sure to notify us of the amounts contributed.

4. Educational expenses
If you’re a teacher, you can add the cost of any supplies you purchased personally up to $250. If you made payments towards a student loan, please gather your Form 1098-E that reports the interest you paid. Don’t forget to include college tuition expenses on form 1098-T, college withdrawals from 529 plans reported on IRS form 1099-Q.

5. Medical bills
Medical bills could provide tax savings. To get a tax benefit, you will have to add a substantial amount compared to your adjusted gross income on your taxes.

6. Property taxes and mortgage interest
If you have a mortgage on your personal residence, include IRS form 1098 that captures your mortgage interest and real estate taxes paid.

7. Charitable donations
Have you made charitable contributions? You can count this as a tax deduction.

8. Proof of tax payments
Ensure you provide proof of you paying any quarterly estimated tax payments made throughout the year. These can be either federal, state, local. Make sure to keep the necessary documentation handy.

9. Date of birth for everyone on your return
Date of birth, social security number, and name of any children born during the tax year is an essential piece of personal information to include while filing your taxes.

10. Alimony amount 
In case you receive alimony payments, make sure to ask a financial expert if you need to report it as income when you file for your taxes.

11. Business income and expenses
If you have a business, you will need to include a summary of income, receipts, credit card statements, records of checks you’ve written, etc.

12. Rental property income and expenses
All rental property income and expenses must be reported on your tax return. It should include insurance, cleaning, repairs, improvements, taxes, mortgage interest, to name a few.

13. Social security benefits
A tax form SSA-1099 is mailed each year to individuals who receive social security benefits. If you’re one of them, you must report it to the IRS on your tax return.

14. Retirement distributions
A 1099-R is a tax form for reporting distributions from annuities, profit-sharing plans, retirement plans, IRAs (Individual Retirement Account), insurance contracts, or pensions.

15. Miscellaneous income
Miscellaneous income could be jury duty, gambling winnings, scholarships, etc. If you miss out mentioning, there could be penalties for not reporting.

16. Remove dependants
Make sure to remove any dependents if you are not claiming any!

17. Child care costs
You can generally deduct money you paid to caregivers providing child-care service. Ensure to fill out the provider’s name, address, tax ID, and the amount paid per child.

18. Unreimbursed expenses
It could include union dues, unreimbursed employee expenses such as uniforms, supplies, continuing education, etc.

19. A 529 plan
Please inform us of any 529 plan contributions. You could get a tax break on your state return.

20. Income from sales of property or cancellation of debt
If you have a canceled/settled debt or a sale of property, it could be income for tax purposes.

If you have any concerns about filing your taxes or you’re looking for a full-service accounting firm to help with your business’s accounting needs, reach out to the tax experts at Bruce T Hall CPA serving in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We are a full-service accounting firm providing accounting, taxation, payroll services, and business consulting. Our certified public accountant’s service is available to clients across Pittsburgh, Monroeville, Oakmont, New Kensington, Homestead, and Murrysville, Pennsylvania.

To learn more about our services, please click here. Have a question? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us here.  

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