The beginning of a new year is a time when many people set goals, establish resolutions, and look optimistically at ways they are going to improve themselves over the next 12 months. While the majority of these tend to be fitness related, financial, involve learning a new skill, or establishing a new habit, we’d challenge you to consider adding one more to your list.
Commit to be more organized when it comes to filing your tax return. Admittedly this doesn’t sound very “sexy”, but by following a few simple sets you can save yourself a lot of time and stress as April 15th approaches.
The first step is create a 2014 “tax folder” so that as you receive relevant documents that can be consolidated in one place. The next simple step is to glance at your 2013 tax return, and come up with a checklist documents you should expect to report. Granted the list might not be perfect and will not include new items that arose last year, but it will be a good baseline to help ensure that you capture all items needed to complete your 2014 tax return.
Looking at and trying to understand last year’s tax return probably sounds less than “fun,” so if needed we’d encourage you to contact your preparer to help you create this list. In hopes of further simplifying this for you, below is a list of questions that will hopefully get you thinking of what items you might expect to receive, and when.
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions below you should expect to receive a tax document in the mail to include in your folder.
– Did you collect salary? (Expect to receive your W2(s) the first week in February)
– Did you perform contract work? (Expect to receive 1099-Misc in early February)
– Do you have bank and/or brokerage accounts? (Expect 1099s)
- Don’t expect these until mid-February, and don’t be surprised if you get a revised version in March.
– Do you receive royalties? (Expect 1099s from payors)
– Are you invested in any publicly traded or private partnerships (Expect K1s, and don’t be surprised if these don’t arrive until late March).
– Did you take a distribution from a retirement plan? (Expect 1099-Rs from all custodians)
– Did you collect Social Security income? (Expect a 1099-SSA)
– Do you have a mortgage on your home? (expect a form 1098 from your lender)
– Did you pay interest on any education loans? (Expect a From 1098-T)
If you can answer “yes” to any of the questions below make sure to include this information in your folder.
– Did you incur expense related to being self employed, owning a farm/ranch, or other any other business related activity?
– Did you pay property taxes?
- Don’t forget to include taxes paid on investment, mineral, or 2nd home type properties.
– Did you buy a new car or any other large dollar item with sales tax?
– Did you donate to charity? [cash and non-cash (ex., Goodwill)]
– Did you make estimated tax payments last year?
– Did you pay any daycare expenses last year?
– Did you buy or sell a home last year (Include closing statements on both the buy & sell)
As always if you have more detailed questions please do not hesitate to contact us!