Getting taxes done professionally 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. But, if you don’t have the skills… head to the tax office! Before you go, you may be wondering what to bring your tax preparer. Having everything you need makes the process much smoother.
Actually, I did let my mom, who does taxes for many, prepare my taxes a few times. I was going to let her 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.
Visiting My Local H&R Block
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! This is why it’s helpful to have everything with you ahead of time! But, 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. 🙂
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. And here’s a tip…. don’t be like me and often wait until the last minute to gather everything. Have a designated shoebox, drawer, storage bin, or envelope where you gather everything throughout the year so that it will be one place when the time comes.
What 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.
1. Be sure to bring social security number(s) for yourself, your spouse and your dependents.
2. Bring your prior year tax returns, both federal and state.
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.
4. Bring all your W-2s.
5. Bring all 1099s, such as state tax refunds, non-employee compensation, etc.
6. Remember that unemployment income is taxable too, so be sure to bring that information as well.
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.
Getting your taxes done can be intimidating. This is especially true if you have a lot so deal with… a small business, being an entrepreneur, claiming kids, deductions, home ownership and more. I swear, I hate that we have to do it every year!! But, we must. Ugh.
Being prepared it key in getting your taxes done right! Hopefully this list helps you figure out what to bring your tax preparer. 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.