What happened last week in Paris was a horror show for those of us living in an ostensibly free society. Outrage, shock, argument — all of these things have come to the forefront over the last week, as we’ve watched events unfold.
And, life has a tendency to keep on pulling us along, even as we attempt to process these things.
Just a little over a week from now, we will begin sending tax returns to the IRS (electronically), and our offices will be jumping. There is a lot of change this year, and probably more than a little confusion among some tax offices because of the Affordable Care Act. But we’ve been preparing for this for over 7 months now … and we’re pretty excited to see the fruition of our labor!
As well, we want to “seal the deal” on a variety of tax-saving maneuvers to which we’ve directed clients over the past year. In short, this is really fun for us here at Team McLaughlin.
But with the ACA, and all of the changes every year, filing your taxes on your own is becoming much less fun for regular taxpayers — even with nice-looking software on the market which purport to make it “easy” for you.
I truly do pity those inexperienced ones who try to muddle through all of the different codes and forms on their own, without devoting even a week’s labor to the transaction. Just because you can find a box to put a number into, doesn’t mean it’s the box that will save you the most money in tax. It really doesn’t pay to “go it alone” for certain tasks.
So, for those of you who want our help (and that’s the vast majority of our contacts), I’ve put together a handy little list of what you’ll need to bring in, which is something I make a point to send out each year. There may be certain situations where we’ll need other documentation to get you even more deductions. But, of course, we’ll let you know about that, should the situation arise.
Let me know your thoughts … and of course, if you’d like to talk this over with us, we’re here for you!
“Real World” Personal Strategy Note
McLaughlin’s 2015 Tax Time Document Chase List
“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to… there is nothing you cannot achieve.” -Lao Tzu
Yes, this is a long list — but it’s the unfortunate reality of our tax code that it’s not even comprehensive! But these items will cover 95% of our clients. Really, this is for ensuring that we’re able to help you keep every dollar you can keep under the tax code.
Even if for some strange reason you won’t be using our cost-effective services this year, feel free to use this list as a handy guide…
Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number
Employment & Income Data
W-2 forms for this year
Tax refunds and unemployment compensation: Form 1099-G
Miscellaneous income including rent: Form 1099-MISC
Partnership and trust income
Pensions and annuities
Jury duty pay
Gambling and lottery winnings
Prizes and awards
Scholarships and fellowships
State and local income tax refunds
Health Insurance Information (New for 2015)
* All 1095-A Forms from marketplace providers (if you purchased insurance through a Marketplace)
* Existing plan information (policy numbers, etc.)
* If claiming an exemption, your unique Exemption Certificate Number
* Records of credits and/or advance payments received from the Premium Tax Credit (if claiming)
Residential address(es) for this year
Mortgage interest: Form 1098
Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S
Second mortgage interest paid
Real estate taxes paid
Rent paid during tax year
Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID
Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV
Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B
Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R
Capital gains or losses
Auto loans and leases (account numbers and car value) if vehicle used for business
Student loan interest paid
Early withdrawal penalties on CDs and other fixed time deposits
Gifts to charity (receipts for any single donations of $250 or more)
Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work
Unreimbursed expenses related to your job (travel expenses, entertainment, uniforms, union dues, subscriptions)
Education expenses (tuition and fees)
Child care expenses
Medical Savings Accounts
Tax return preparation expenses and fees
Estimated tax vouchers for the current year
Self-employment SEP plans
Self-employed health insurance
K-1s on all partnerships
Receipts or documentation for business-related expenses
State and local income taxes
IRA, Keogh and other retirement plan contributions
Casualty or theft losses
Other miscellaneous deductions
We hope this helps, and we really look forward to seeing you in here in 2015!