Q: WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING TO YOUR APPOINTMENT?
A: The previous year’s income tax return, if you are a new client. It’s especially important if you have any depreciable business assets that we’ll need to carry forward.
Names, dates of birth and social security numbers for all dependents listed on your return.
All your income information such as W-2’s and 1099’s from pensions, IRA withdrawals, interest and dividends, unemployment compensation, lottery wins, etc
Capital gain info from sales of stock, mutual funds or property. This includes the PURCHASE and SALE dates and prices.
Any alimony you may have received or paid out. Please include the name and social security number of the person to whom you’re paying the alimony.
For small business owners, please do your homework BEFORE you come to your appointment. That includes totaling your sales for the year and totaling your expenses by category. If you’re new at it, we’ll cut you some slack, but be as prepared as possible. Please feel free to call the office or email us if you have questions.
For rental property owners, the same applies. Please total your rental income and expense categories, by property, before you come to your appointment. There’s nothing more daunting to a preparer than having to sort through receipts while the clients are lining up outside the door.
If you’re collecting social security benefits, please bring the year end 1099 you receive. You may not be taxed on the income, but we need to see it before we’ll know.
Student loan interest. That information can be found on a form 1098-E provided by the lender. You may need to go online to find it, as they don’t always mail it.
IRA contribution information, including both traditional and Roth IRA’s.
Medical and dental expenses; they need to total more than 10% of your income if under age 65 or more than 7.5% of your income if over age 65 to be deductible. Health insurance premiums that you’re paying out of pocket, as well as long-term care insurance do count towards meeting the above income thresholds.
Real estate taxes paid on homes or land you own.
Excise taxes paid on vehicles you own, including cars, boats, motorcycles.
Mortgage interest paid for the year – in most cases, your bank will send you a statement called a form 1098 which should detail it. Don’t forget the interest on home equity loans, home improvement loans, second mortgages and refinances.
If you’ve refinanced during the year, bring the settlement statement. Also bear in mind that you most likely will be receiving more than one form 1098; one from each mortgage company.
Did your mortgage company sell your mortgage? Keep track so you’ll know when you’ve received all the forms.
Charitable contributions; if you’ve made a monetary contribution of $ 250 or more at one time, please list separately. Anything under $ 250 can just be totaled together. A vehicle donation is limited to a $ 500 deduction unless the vehicle was resold by the organization to a third party. In this instance, the organization will provide proper documentation that you’ll need to bring to your appointment.
Work related expenses: safety shoes, equipment, tools, books, union dues, nonreimbursed travel expenses, etc
Investment expenses: safe deposit box, tax preparation fee, financial advising fee, etc
Child care expenses: Name, tax ID number and address of each provider are needed to qualify for the credit.
Educational expenses: tuition, books, related fees, etc. A form 1098-T is needed, and should be provided by the educational institution.
A record of any estimated taxes paid for the tax year. Q1 is due April 15, Q2 is due June 15, Q3 is due Sept 15 and Q4 is due Jan 15 of the next year.
Proof of health insurance: Form 1099-HC is needed for all Massachusetts residents. If you purchase your health insurance through the MassHealth Connector, you should recieve a form 1095-A. Please bring this form to your appointment. We can not file your tax return without it.
Q: PLEASE READ! I usually qualify for the “Earned Income Credit”. What additional information will I now need to bring to comply with the new laws?
A: All registered tax preparers are now required to comply with the “Due Diligence” requirements or face monetary penalties, practice suspension or even criminal prosecution. What that means to you, our clients, is that we will be asking more detailed questions about your dependents and your income. We will also be required to ask for and keep copies of certain documents. You can avoid holding up the preparation of your return by bringing social security cards and/or birth certificates for any dependents living with you. School records and/or medical records for your dependents also help establish residency of your dependents. If you’re claiming “Head of Household” status, a copy of a rent receipt, utility bill or mortgage statement will be helpful. If you’re self employed, proof of income may be required. Acceptable proof would be a list of clients, a business license, bank records showing income deposits, etc. We apologize for the additional burden this puts on you, and appreciate your cooperation in helping us comply with the stricter IRS laws.
Q: HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
A: See our Fee Schedule Page. Cash or Check only, please. It helps us keep our fees lower by not having to pay credit card fees.
Q: HOW LONG WILL THE APPOINTMENT TAKE?
A: In most cases, the appointment shouldn’t take more than one half to one hour. First time clients take a bit longer than returning clients because of the data gathering required to establish the file.
Q: DOES THE OFFICE USUALLY STAY ON SCHEDULE? WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’RE RUNNING LATE?
A: Considering how busy tax season can be, it’s amazing how well we DO manage to stay on schedule. That said however, there are times when we DO run late. Variables such as a late arriving client, traffic and weather problems or an unexpectedly complicated tax return can set us back. If time is an issue, consider booking an appointment first thing in the morning.
Your promptness is the best way to insure we stay on schedule. If you’re going to be more than ten minutes late for your appointment, consider rescheduling. If that’s not possible, we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Q: MORE QUESTIONS? WHAT’S THE FASTEST, EASIEST WAY TO GET THEM ANSWERED BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT?
A: Probably the fastest way is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the office, but it may take a day or so for us to get the message, form an answer, then find the time during decent hours to call you back. Just be patient, we’re doing the best we can.
Q: WHAT ABOUT SNOW CLOSINGS? HOW DO I FIND OUT IF YOU’RE STILL OPEN? A: Safety is our first priority for both our clients and our staff. When the office was located at Roger’s house, we stayed open during all kinds of weather. Now that we’re in a different location, there are travel and parking issues that need to be considered. We base our decision to close on available weather reports, and we need to make a closing decision with enough advance notice to contact staff and clients. So if there’s any possibility that the office may be closed due to weather, PLEASE check our website and/or call the office to be sure. Although we make the best effort to contact everybody who may be affected, you may not think to check your voicemail before making an unnecessary trip.