Tax day can be a stressful experience for many people, particularly if you are uncertain about what you need to do or where to begin. To make the process smoother, we have created a tax preparation checklist that you can use to ensure that you have all of the required information for this tax season. You may be amazed at how much time you save by arranging the necessary documents and information in advance!
Clients Tax Preparation Checklist: What information do you need from your clients?
Each client's tax preparation requirements will differ based on the nature of their properties and businesses. However, a thorough checklist of necessary documents, divided into categories, can assist clients in understanding what they must provide to complete their tax returns. This will include items like W-2 forms, 1099 forms for miscellaneous income, records of self-employment income and expenses, mortgage interest statements, property tax records, investment income statements, and charitable donation receipts. It's critical to keep accurate records throughout the year to ensure all required documents are available when the time comes to file taxes.
Consulting with a tax professional can also ensure that all necessary documents are accounted for and that the tax return is filed correctly and on time.
What Documents Do I Need to File Taxes?
The documents required for filing taxes can vary depending on an individual's personal circumstances, such as their sources of income, deductions, and credits. Some common documents that may be necessary include W-2 forms, 1099 forms for miscellaneous income, self-employment income and expenses records, property tax records, investment income statements, and receipts for charitable donations. Maintaining accurate records throughout the year can help ensure that all necessary documents are available at tax time. It is also beneficial to seek assistance from a tax professional to ensure that all required documents are accounted for and that the tax return is filed accurately and within the specified timeframe.
These forms provide information about your income and taxes withheld by your employer(s) throughout the year.
In case you have received income from sources other than an employer, or you are self-employed or a freelancer, you might get a 1099 form that indicates that income.
You might receive a 1098 form that reports the interest amount you paid if you have paid interest on a mortgage, student loan, or any other loan.
Receipts for deductible expenses
If you intend to claim deductions for expenses such as charitable donations, medical expenses, or business-related costs, you must have receipts and documents to support those deductions.
Social Security numbers
To file taxes, you have to furnish your Social Security number along with those of your spouse (if filing jointly) and any dependents.
Previous year’s return
If you are using tax software or taking assistance from a tax preparer, it can be useful to possess a copy of your previous year’s tax return.
Bank and investment statements
You may need to provide documentation of interest earned on savings accounts, dividends received from investments, and capital gains or losses from the sale of investments.
Health insurance forms
If you obtained health insurance via the Affordable Care Act, you might get a Form 1095-A that reports your coverage status and any premium tax credits that you received.
This all-inclusive list is primarily divided into seven groups, which are:
Your personal information provides the IRS and state taxing authority with details about your identity, how to reach you, and where to deposit your tax refund.
Please provide your name exactly as it is mentioned on your Social Security card.
Date of birth
Social Security number
Date of birth
Social Security number
A duplicate of your federal and state tax returns from the previous year.
Your bank account number and routing number will be needed to receive your refund through direct deposit.
For business owners, filing annual taxes can be an added challenge to running their company. Therefore, they need to submit additional information to begin the tax filing process. To file taxes for a business, it is advisable to request the business owners to provide or send the following documents.
Kindly ask for a duplicate of the business tax return from the previous year.
If applicable, partnership contracts should be provided.
Details of the business bank account should be provided.
If applicable, the EIN (Employee Identification Number) should be provided.
If applicable, partnership contracts should be provided.
It is important to inform clients that they need to be thorough when gathering income tax records, including all the money they received during the year.
Additionally, it is necessary to advise clients to review their tax information to ensure that all amounts are accurately reported in their accounts. If there are any errors, they should be corrected as soon as possible.
Here is a list of documents related to income information that should be requested from clients.
W-2 forms from the organization
IRS 1099 forms that include form 1099-NEC (non-employee compensation)
Form 1099-G (unemployment allowance)
Form 1099-INT (interest income records)
Form 1099-DIV (dividend income records)
Form 1099-R (superannuation income)
Ask for the IRS Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) that shows the partnership's earnings.
Earnings from rental properties
It is important to inform clients that tax deductions can lead to significant savings during tax filing. Clients should take the time to track as many relevant expenses as possible, which may include the following tax deductions:
Receipts for medical expenses.
Documents related to the client's primary residence, including Form 1098 (Mortgage Interest Statement), property tax records, and expenses related to energy-saving improvements.
Receipts for donations made to charitable organizations.
Child care expenses receipt
Expenses related to any rental properties.
Company financial statements
To assist your client who owns a business, it is important to ask for their company financial record and you must know What Investor Want to See in Financial Statements. Request that they furnish you with the subsequent paperwork:
Profit and loss statement
To streamline the tax filing process, it's helpful to ask clients who use automated accounting software to provide you with automated financial reports. This will make it easier and faster to compile the necessary financial information for tax purposes.
It is important to carefully review the auto-generated reports provided by clients who use automated accounting software before submitting them for tax filing. If there are any doubts or questions about the accuracy of the reports, it is important to ask clients for clarification instead of making assumptions. This can help avoid the risk of IRS rejection.
Other business records
To complete your client’s business tax return accurately, it’s not enough to rely solely on their financial records. You must also help them gather additional business documents, such as:
Home office information
If your client runs a business from their home, request them to provide details of their home office, including its size, rent, and electricity bills.
Vehicle use record
You should advise your clients to maintain a mileage log if they use their vehicles for business purposes. This log should have an up-to-date record of the distances they have traveled. They should also provide you with a record of any vehicle-related expenses incurred, such as fuel, maintenance, and repair costs.
Asset investment receipts
To properly file taxes for your client, it is important to ask them to provide receipts for any capital assets acquired during the current fiscal year.
Expected tax payments
Another important point to check off the tax preparation checklist is to make sure your clients have made estimated tax payments to the IRS during the current financial year. You should ask your clients to provide you with the relevant documents and receipts for tax payments made.
Furthermore, if the clients failed to make the required estimated tax payments, it may be necessary to establish new dates for making those payments that were missed. Additionally, it is essential for the clients to collaborate with their accountants in evaluating their anticipated tax liability for the current fiscal year.
Consider Getting Help From a Tax Professional
Many experts suggest that individuals who are having difficulty with their taxes should think about seeking help from a tax professional. These professionals, which may include certified public accountants (CPAs) or enrolled agents (EAs), possess knowledge and experience in tax laws and regulations and can offer beneficial advice on tax preparation and planning.
By seeking assistance from a tax professional, you can receive guidance on intricate tax issues, make sure that you are utilizing all relevant tax deductions and credits, and prevent costly errors that could lead to penalties or audits. Additionally, a tax professional can provide advice on tax planning strategies and Auditing Services that may reduce your future tax liability and Boost Your Productivity. It is essential to recognize that employing a tax professional comes with an expense. It is important to assess the charges carefully and select a professional with the necessary qualifications and expertise that suits your requirements. There may be situations where the cost of hiring a tax professional is more than the potential advantages, so it is critical to evaluate the pros and cons before deciding.
Plan for Future Tax Seasons
Preparing for future tax seasons involves being proactive and taking necessary actions throughout the year to ensure that you are ready for tax season. This can entail maintaining precise records of all earnings and expenditures, periodically assessing and adjusting your tax withholding, and staying updated about modifications to tax laws and regulations.
Getting advice from a tax professional or financial advisor providing Online Bookkeeping Services can be a beneficial approach to planning for future tax seasons. They can assist in creating a personalized tax strategy that takes into account your specific financial circumstances and objectives. Additionally, they can offer continuous assistance and advice throughout the year to ensure that you stay on track with your tax planning goals.
Planning for future tax seasons also involves utilizing tax-advantaged investment options, which can help reduce your tax liability. Retirement accounts such as 401(k)s or IRAs are examples of tax-advantaged investment options that allow you to contribute pre-tax income, thereby lowering your taxable income. By taking advantage of these options, you can potentially reduce your tax liability while also building your retirement savings.
To prepare for future tax seasons, it's important to take an active approach and implement measures to decrease your tax liabilities and increase your savings. This can include keeping accurate records, staying informed about tax laws, consulting with a tax professional, and utilizing tax-advantaged investment options. By taking these steps, you can be better prepared and potentially reduce your stress and financial burden during tax season.
As a tax company, it would be beneficial to start preparing your clients for tax season early in the process of gathering records. This can help alleviate some of the workloads during this busy period. Additionally, sharing a tax preparation checklist with your clients can help them understand exactly which documents are needed and improve your chances of having a successful tax season.