Tax season is here, and your returns will be due before you know it. No matter if you’re filing as an individual or for your business, the more prepared you are, the easier it’ll be when it comes time to file your tax return(s). If you’ve ever struggled to remember everything you need to file and what to do, this blog is just for you! We’ve put together two helpful checklists as a reminder as we head into the busiest season for our staff. Hopefully, these can help you feel more organized and less stressed while filing your taxes. And as always, our team is here to help. See the end of the blog to learn more about how we can help you this tax season.
Business Check List
Businesses have lots of moving parts to consider. If you’ve been keeping on track of your finances all year, gathering documents now will be easier. However, if things slip by during the year, this is a great tool to have. Even if you have detailed records, referencing this list can provide a bit of peace of mind as you’re working on packing all your documents for your return.
- General Documents
- Federal tax ID number – only if you are issued one from the IRS; not everyone will have one
- If you are working with a new preparer this year, have the previous year’s tax return – both state and federal.
- Business income tax documents
- Financial statements – focus on balance sheets and income statements
- Accounting journals and ledger – if your software allows it, give your CPA or preparer access, allowing them to see everything without you needing to download it all.
- Transactional supporting documents
- Any 1099s you received
- Business-related expense documentation
- Receipts, grouped into categories like:
- Supplies (general office supplies)
- Dues and subscriptions
- Business travel
- Business meals
- Marketing and advertising costs
- Professional fees – such as attorneys, consultants, accountants, etc.
- Insurance expense
- Equipment and assets (if you have assets that have been depreciated by a previous preparer, be sure to include the depreciation schedule for each)
- Employment Tax Documents:
- Employee forms
- Payroll reports (940s, 941s, and quarterly unemployment filings)
- Subcontractors and Professional Services
- 1099s, 1099-NECs (or a schedule of contractors who need to receive one), and W-9s
- In-home Office Documents
- Square footage of office space
- Mortgage interest or rent paid
- Insurance policy
- Any other expense that covers the whole house
- Employee forms
- Receipts, grouped into categories like:
Besides our list here, a quick internet search can turn up other lists that provide more details for specific industries. Intuit provides a good general business checklist that can spark ideas on what else you may be forgetting. Plus, you can always reach out to your accountant or tax preparer to double-check check you’ve provided all the necessary information.
Individual Check List
Donation records, tax write-offs, income, and more. Remembering everything you need for your return to be prepared can feel a bit overwhelming. Whether you’re filing a joint or individual return, this list should cover all bases. If you still have remaining questions or are unsure, reach out to your accountant early. The sooner you ask any questions, the less flustered you’ll feel getting your return done on time.
- Personal Information
- Previous year’s tax returns – both state and federal.
- Social Security number(s)
- If filing with dependents, have theirs; if filing joint, have your spouse/partner’s
- Have the date of birth for dependents or spouse/partner’s
- W-2 forms from all employers during the year
- 1099 forms, such as 1099-R, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT, and others
- If you’re filing on your own, knowing your tax bracket can be helpful but not necessary. You can learn more about federal tax brackets here.
- Deductions: Make sure you have documentation for the deductions you are attempting to claim.
- Retirement account contributions. Make sure you stay within the contribution limits.
- Education expenses
- Medical bill – only if the bills total more than 7.5% of adjusted gross income. And this does not apply to all taxpayers.
- Property taxes and mortgage interest – form 1098
- Charitable donations – be sure to have the receipts/confirmation of donations on hand while preparing your return.
- Classroom expenses – if you’re a schoolteacher or eligible educator, you can deduct some classroom supply expenses.
- Credits: Not everyone will have credits. Like deductions, you need documentation to claim credits. Here are a few of the most common Credits used:
- American opportunity and lifetime learning credits.
- Child tax credit
- Retirement savings contributions credit
If you have a question, feel free to reach out. We do our best to answer questions quickly; just plan ahead if you hope to meet with someone as the larger amount of work this time of year. Plus, you can find help in the many resources on our website, including taking a browse through our previous blogs, such as how to access the Client Portal we use or what to do if you end up filing for an extension on your return. Other sites that offer helpful information for tax season include this one for non-profits, one for businesses, and one for individuals. If none of those fit your needs, reach out! Our team can help connect you with the best resources and information to ease your stress and help you be more prepared.
Need More Help?
These checklists may have covered most of the information you needed – but everyone’s needs are different. We offer a wide variety of services. Our website explains how we can help with tax planning (also covered in this blog), tax preparation for businesses and individuals, and more. If you feel like you need more guidance and help in preparing for your tax season, reach out to one of our team members by phone at (703) 912-7862, or set up a meeting using this link.