This is not a big deal for some. But this was actually the first time that my taxes have even been “professionally” done. GASP! For the past few years my husband (now ex) always did them. Of course there is nothing wrong with using the free IRS efile service. That works out well for many. A couple of times my mom who does taxes for many did them. I was going to let me mom do them again this year, but I was contacted by H&R Block as part of a special promotion to come in for a consultation. I had to reschedule my first appointment because I was sick (booo!!).

When I arrived for my appointment at the local H&R Block office I was greeted by the friendly staff who got to work right away. My representative was Diane Fouch at the Dorchester Commons office in Hyde Park. She was very pleasant, and knew her stuff. I believe she said that she has been doing this for over 20 years.

I was in and out in under 2 hours. It would have been a bit quicker, but once we got to talking I had to do a bit of looking up and fishing for more info to get myself more money back! So, the extra time was worth it. ¬†My refund was not as much as I would have liked because of several life changes in the past year, but I did get one, so I am still happy. ūüôā

If you plan to head into a tax office soon, or even if you are doing them yourself, here are some tips on what you need to gather:

Ten Things to Bring to Your Tax Preparer

When you are getting ready for tax time, there is some information that you can bring with you to make the tax return process less painful. Your tax preparer will need some general information as well as knowledge of your income and deductions for the year.

General Information

1.      Be sure to bring social security number(s) for yourself, your spouse and your dependents.

2.      Bringing your prior year tax returns, both federal and state, is always helpful.

3.      Be sure to tell your tax preparer about any life changes that you’ve had during the year, such as marriage, divorce, a new child, a new home, new job etc.

Income Documents

4.      Bring all your W-2s.

5.      Bring all 1099s, such as state tax refunds, nonemployee compensation, etc.

6.      Remember that unemployment income is taxable too, so be sure to bring that information as well.

Deductions/Credit Records

7.      Be sure to bring receipts or statements showing any medical expenses, charitable contributions, job search expenses, or casualty losses (losses due to flood, fire, etc.) that you had during the year.

8.      If you are a homeowner, bring your Form 1098 from your mortgage company. This will show mortgage interest and real estate taxes paid.

9.      Bring personal property tax receipts.

10.  If you paid tuition for a post-secondary institution, be sure to bring this information as well.

If you own a small business, you should also bring the following information:

1.      Records of your business income

2.      Records of your business expenses, such as receipts, invoices, and bills.

3.      If you use your car for your business, be sure to bring the log of the business use.

4.      If you have a home office, have the information to claim this deduction. Be sure to bring in your utility bills, plus records of repairs done to the home office area.

5.      Information about any self-employed health insurance premiums paid and self-employed retirement plan contributions made during the year.

It will make it easier and quicker for you and your tax preparer if this information is organized by type, general, income, deductions, and business, when you walk into their office.


The Giveaway

I know many probably have your taxes done already, but if you are one of the procrastinators don’t worry, H&R Block would like to help. If you hold the task of doing your taxes yourself, you can get a free copy of H&R Black at Home Premium. This is a $55 value!

There will be (6) winners!

To win, simply leave me a comment below telling me what you plan to do with your refund (if you expect one). Winners will be chosen on Friday, April 8, 2011.

Good luck!