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Tax Prep Checklist: 6 Types of Documentation to Bring to Your Accountant This Tax Season

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You’ve found the perfect accountant for your taxes. They understand your tax situation, what you need, and are willing to help.  

But what do you need to bring for your appointment? The longer it takes for an accountant to prepare your taxes, the more money it will cost you.

You might as well be prepared and ensure you have every single piece of paperwork and documentation that you need to before you walk into an accountant’s office.    

Here’s a checklist of what you should bring:  

Proper Identification 

To be safe, bring both a valid photo ID and your Social Security card. Your accountant, especially if this is the first time they’re preparing your taxes for you, will need to verify your Social Security number, the spelling of your name, and that the card you bring is in fact you. 

You will also need to bring the Social Security cards/numbers of any dependents you’re claiming and that of your spouse (if you have one).  

Copy of Your Most Recent Tax Return 

Be sure to bring your most recent tax return to the office. This gives your accountant vital information that they’ll need to file your taxes. 

Wage Statements and Income  

There are many ways to make money and only some of them come with accompanying forms. The two most common that you’ll encounter are Form W-2 and a variety of different Form 1099s.  

Check out this complete list of different wage forms you might receive (and therefore should bring to your accountant’s office):

  • Form W-2 (wage and salary income)

  • Form W-2G (gambling winnings)

  • Form 1099-A (foreclosure of a home)

  • Form 1099-B (sales of stock, bonds, or other investments)

  • Form 1099-C (canceled debts)

  • Form 1099-DIV (dividends)

  • Form 1099-G (state tax refunds and unemployment compensation)

  • Form 1099-INT (interest income)

  • Form 1099-K (business or rental income processed by third-party networks)

  • Form 1099-LTC (benefits received from a long-term care policy)

  • Form 1099-MISC (self-employment and other various types of income)

  • Form 1099-OID (original issue discount on bonds)

  • Form 1099-PATR (patronage dividends)

  • Form 1099-Q (distributions from an education savings plan)

  • Form 1099-QA (distributions from an ABLE account)

  • Form 1099-R (distributions from individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, and other types of retirement savings plans)

  • Form 1099-S (proceeds from the sale of real estate)

  • Form 1099-SA (distributions from health savings accounts)

  • Form SSA-1099 (Social Security benefits)

  • Form RRB-1099 (Railroad retirement benefits)

  • Schedule K-1 (income from partnerships, S corporations, estates, or trusts)

Additionally, there is a possibility you might have income that won’t be reported on a form. This includes small businesses where a client might pay you $500 for a service. You won’t have signed a form with them, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to report the income. 

Bring proof of that income when you go to the accountant’s office. 

Real Estate Documents 

Do you own a home or piece of property? There are a lot of deductions you can take if so. You should bring any documentation that includes: 

  • A recent home purchase 

  • A home equity loan  

  • Proof of paid real estate or property taxes  

 

 Proof of Expenses

If you’re planning to itemize your deductions, you need to determine all of your expenses.  

Try to keep it organized but bring everything you think you might need. You’ll want records of: 

  • Receipts 

  • Invoices 

  • Medical bill 

  • Charitable contributions 

  • Expenses related to job-hunting 

  • Mileage logs  

  • Education expenses 

  • Self-employment expenses 

  • Gambling losses 

  • Child care expenses  

  • Moving expenses  

  • Personal property taxes  

  • Real estate tax bills  

  • And more 

Be thorough. It’s better to have more tax documents than less. 

If you want to get your deductions and credits, it’s imperative that you hand over documentation that proves your expenses. This includes receipts, invoices, medical bills, charitable contributions, IRA contributions, job-hunting expenses, mileage logs, education expenses, self-employment expenses, and more. It’s better to bring too much documentation than too little.

Direct Deposit Authorization Form or a Blank Check 

This ensures that when your accountant e-files on your behalf that they are able to directly deposit any federal or state returns. 

 

That’s it! You’re now ready to save yourself time and money by heading to your accountant’s office completely prepared. Make sure you go to a certified CPA accountant to ensure that your taxes are done properly and that you get the maximum potential return. 

You’ve found the perfect accountant for your taxes. They understand your tax situation, what you need, and are willing to help.  

 

But what do you need to bring for your appointment? The longer it takes for an accountant to prepare your taxes, the more money it will cost you.

 

You might as well be prepared and ensure you have every single piece of paperwork and documentation that you need to before you walk into an accountant’s office.    

 

Here’s a checklist of what you should bring:  

 

Proper Identification 

To be safe, bring both a valid photo ID and your Social Security card. Your accountant, especially if this is the first time they’re preparing your taxes for you, will need to verify your Social Security number, the spelling of your name, and that the card you bring is in fact you. 

 

You will also need to bring the Social Security cards/numbers of any dependents you’re claiming and that of your spouse (if you have one).  

 

Copy of Your Most Recent Tax Return 

Be sure to bring your most recent tax return to the office. This gives your accountant vital information that they’ll need to file your taxes. 

 

Wage Statements and Income  

There are many ways to make money and only some of them come with accompanying forms. The two most common that you’ll encounter are Form W-2 and a variety of different Form 1099s.  

 

Check out this complete list of different wage forms you might receive (and therefore should bring to your accountant’s office):

  • Form W-2 (wage and salary income)

  • Form W-2G (gambling winnings)

  • Form 1099-A (foreclosure of a home)

  • Form 1099-B (sales of stock, bonds, or other investments)

  • Form 1099-C (canceled debts)

  • Form 1099-DIV (dividends)

  • Form 1099-G (state tax refunds and unemployment compensation)

  • Form 1099-INT (interest income)

  • Form 1099-K (business or rental income processed by third-party networks)

  • Form 1099-LTC (benefits received from a long-term care policy)

  • Form 1099-MISC (self-employment and other various types of income)

  • Form 1099-OID (original issue discount on bonds)

  • Form 1099-PATR (patronage dividends)

  • Form 1099-Q (distributions from an education savings plan)

  • Form 1099-QA (distributions from an ABLE account)

  • Form 1099-R (distributions from individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, and other types of retirement savings plans)

  • Form 1099-S (proceeds from the sale of real estate)

  • Form 1099-SA (distributions from health savings accounts)

  • Form SSA-1099 (Social Security benefits)

  • Form RRB-1099 (Railroad retirement benefits)

  • Schedule K-1 (income from partnerships, S corporations, estates, or trusts)

Additionally, there is a possibility you might have income that won’t be reported on a form. This includes small businesses where a client might pay you $500 for a service. You won’t have signed a form with them, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to report the income. 

 

Bring proof of that income when you go to the accountant’s office. 

 

Real Estate Documents 

Do you own a home or piece of property? There are a lot of deductions you can take if so. You should bring any documentation that includes: 

  • A recent home purchase 

  • A home equity loan  

  • Proof of paid real estate or property taxes  

 

 Proof of Expenses

If you’re planning to itemize your deductions, you need to determine all of your expenses.  

 

Try to keep it organized but bring everything you think you might need. You’ll want records of: 

  • Receipts 

  • Invoices 

  • Medical bill 

  • Charitable contributions 

  • Expenses related to job-hunting 

  • Mileage logs  

  • Education expenses 

  • Self-employment expenses 

  • Gambling losses 

  • Child care expenses  

  • Moving expenses  

  • Personal property taxes  

  • Real estate tax bills  

  • And more 

Be thorough. It’s better to have more tax documents than less. 

If you want to get your deductions and credits, it’s imperative that you hand over documentation that proves your expenses. This includes receipts, invoices, medical bills, charitable contributions, IRA contributions, job-hunting expenses, mileage logs, education expenses, self-employment expenses, and more. It’s better to bring too much documentation than too little.

 

Direct Deposit Authorization Form or a Blank Check 

This ensures that when your accountant e-files on your behalf that they are able to directly deposit any federal or state returns. 

 

 

That’s it! You’re now ready to save yourself time and money by heading to your accountant’s office completely prepared. Make sure you go to a certified CPA accountant to ensure that your taxes are done properly and that you get the maximum potential return. 

How The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) Affects Fantasy Sports

Fantasy sports is becoming increasingly popular, with 59.3 million people playing in the United States and Canada, creating a $7 billion industry. With this though, comes tax implications for winners.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provides tax opportunities and drawbacks that fantasy players should understand.

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There is currently an ongoing debate how winnings should be classified and where they should be reported. Are the winnings considered gambling income or hobby income? The TCJA does not clarify the definition of gambling and to date the IRS has not weighed in as to whether fantasy sports winnings are hobby or gambling income. If fantasy sports are not considered gambling, then the hobby loss rules would apply. In this case, the TCJA eliminates the taxpayers’ ability to deduct any fantasy expenses even if there is fantasy income. Prior to the TCJA, hobby losses were deductible as miscellaneous deductions subject to the 2% adjusted gross income (AGI) floor.

Many have argued that fantasy sports are ‘wagering transactions’ thereby allowing fantasy sports losses to be deductible to the extent of their winnings. Previously, gambling losses were assumed to be the cost of placing the wager, but TCJA suggests that other expenses that are ordinary and necessary to execute wagering transactions are deductible. For traditional gamblers, this includes the ability to deduct expenses related to travel, lodging, etc., to the extent of winnings – but fantasy players may have different ‘ordinary and necessary’ expenses. Potentially deductible fantasy sports expenses under TCJA include: fantasy-related online subscriptions and magazines; cost of any office equipment/space exclusively dedicated to fantasy sports; 50% of food costs at fantasy sports draft parties; and cost of any punishments for losing in a fantasy sports league. Losses from other gambling activities, like traditional casinos, could also be used to offset fantasy sports winnings.

For casual fantasy players, the increase in the standard deduction under the TCJA will reduce the number of taxpayers that itemize, thereby eliminating any potential benefit of fantasy-related expenses, since the deductions allowed are classified as “other itemized deductions” on the schedule A.

For the serious fantasy player, treating gambling as a trade or business may be useful. It is important to remember that taxpayers who recognize profits on their schedule C will be subject to both income and self-employment taxes, so it may not always be beneficial to consider yourself a professional. In the case of the serious professional fantasy player, income and expenses will be reported on schedule C, negating the need to itemize in order to take advantage of the deductions.  The TCJA does have one downfall for professional gamblers; prior to the new tax law, gambling expenses such as travel and lodging were not considered gambling losses, which meant they were not limited to gambling winnings. This allowed professional gamblers to have a net loss on gambling activities. Under the TCJA, these expenses are defined as wagering losses, therefore are limited to the extent of gambling winnings. Those who identify themselves as professionals have the burden to prove their activity is regularly pursued full-time, and to produce a livable income. Taxpayers should expect to hear from the IRS when claiming to be a professional.

Whether a taxpayer is a professional or a casual player, it is very important to keep all records as the burden of proof is on the taxpayer. While gambling is reported on W-2G, fantasy sports sites typically issue 1099-Misc to players winning more than $600. The IRS suggested that the net method of reporting (reports winnings from contests less the entry fees for any contest won) was the appropriate way to calculate winnings, but not all fantasy sports sites comply. It is important for a taxpayer to know how the site they are using reports winnings.

In summary, under the TCJA, fantasy players may benefit by treating their fantasy sports as gambling and claiming fantasy-related expenses that were not previously deductible.

Important Dates In Post-Revolution American Tax History

The Revolutionary War was sparked in part by the British imposing taxes on the American colonists without their permission or consent.

Once the colonists had freed themselves from British rule, it was time to establish a government that could pay the debts it had incurred during the conflict.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

1777 – Articles of Confederation

This was the first constitution of the newly formed United State. It favored decentralization of power, which means that Congress was not given the power to tax.

1781  – Report on Public Credit

Robert Morris, Superintendent of finance, wanted the federal government to own the debt it incurred then issue interest-bearing debt certificates while imposing tariffs and internal taxes.

His proposal was shut down by numerous states over the next few years.

1787 – Ratification of the Constitution

The ratification of the Constitution shifted the focus of power to the federal government and away from individual states.

This gave the federal legislature the power to impose tariffs and coin money, along with the flexibility to collect excises and levy taxes directly on individual citizens.

1789 – Tariff of 1789

This tax bill included the original 5% duty on imports, as well as a list of special items that would be taxed at specific amounts.

1790 – Report on Public Credit

This new tax plan worked on two basic principles:

  • Redemption – Congress would redeem at face value all the securities issued by the Confederation government. These old notes would be exchanged for new government securities with interest of about 4%. This plan aimed to intertwine the wealthy Americans who had financed the initial government with the new government.

  • Assumption – The national government would take on outstanding war debts of the states. This would concentrate the nation wealth into the hands of the wealthy merchant class so they would be able to invest in the nation’s economy and other critical innovations.

1791 – Whiskey Excise Tax

This was a tax specifically for spirit distillers and imposed a 7 cents to 18 cent per gallon tax. This was not a popular tax, as spirits were often used as a form of currency out west.

1794 – Uprising Quelled

North Carolina and Western Pennsylvania were in a state of civil unrest after being cited by the federal government for dodging taxes.

The federal government forced the states to send militia to occupy these territories and take down any organized resistance.

President Madison appealed to Congress for a Declaration of War against Britain as the tension between the two countries reached a head.

There was a lot of conflict over fundraising for the war, but Congress eventually settled on doubling the tariff schedule.

 

Any U.S. tax advice contained in the body of this website is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.