“It’s the least wonderful time of the year….” Yes, it’s time to prepare to file your tax return. While this time of the year is met with dread by many individuals, it doesn’t have to be quite as bad as it’s purported to be or as you may think. By following these steps, you can make it as stress-free as possible.
First, gather your information. By now, you should have received all the reporting documentation you’ll need. Here’s a checklist:
- Social security numbers: yours, your spouse’s (if filing jointly), and those of all your dependents
- W-2 forms from your employer(s) and those of your spouse (if filing jointly)
- 1099 forms (if applicable):
- 1099-MISC: for miscellaneous income earned as an independent contractor or self-employed person who earned more than $600 from an individual client. Provided by your client(s).
- 1099-INT: for interest income. Provided by your bank or investment firm.
- 1099-DIV: for dividend income. Provided by your bank or investment firm.
- 1099-R: for retirement income from withdrawals from your traditional IRA or 401(k) account. Provided by your bank or investment firm where the account is held.
- 1099-G: for unemployment compensation or a state tax refund. Provided by the appropriate government agency.
- 1099-C: for debt cancellation that the IRS treats as income. Provided by the company forgiving your debt (e.g. credit card company).
- Income from state and local tax refunds from the previous year (that may not be reported on a 1099-G)
- Accounting records for business income
- Social Security benefits
- Rental or royalty income
- Miscellaneous income (e.g. jury duty stipend, gambling/lottery winnings, prizes or awards, and distributions from a medical savings account [reported on Form 1099-MSA])
You can reduce your tax liability with deductions and credits. You should have the documents and amounts you paid for mortgage interest, student loan interest, IRA contributions, medical savings account contributions, moving expenses, childcare costs, charitable contributions and donations, qualified job and business expenses, casualty and theft losses, and any homebuyer or green energy tax credits for which you may be eligible.
Also, please share with us any life changes (marriage, divorce, new child, job change or relocation, death, etc.) that you experienced in the last year, so that we can fully and effectively address your tax situation and take advantage of certain credits, exemptions, deductions, etc. to which you may now be entitled.
Please provide your updated mailing address and bank account information to avoid a potential delay in your refund.
Finally, ask questions! We are here to serve you, so please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have.
Using Waddy’s Organizer
We understand that taxes can be complex, so we’ve created a tax Organizer to help you expedite the process. The Organizer walks you through your personal tax situation with a series of yes/no questions and easy-to-follow worksheets on which we’ll collect needed information about your dependents, income, healthcare coverage, as well as other income and adjustments. For those who need it, we’ll help you cover every detail for Schedules C (business), E (rental & royalties), and F (farming) as well as itemized deductions for which you may qualify to potentially reduce your tax liability.
With the Organizer complete, you can easily upload it to use via our secure online portal.
The average timeframe for Waddy to complete your tax return is two hours to two weeks depending on how your information is organized.
Once your return is filed, if you are getting a refund, the IRS issues most refunds in fewer than 21 calendar days. However, it may take longer, especially if you are claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit. By law, the IRS cannot issue a refund in that case until at least Feb. 15, 2017.
You must also take into consideration the time it takes for your bank or financial institutions to post the refund to your account when getting the refund via direct deposit.
You can use the IRS “Where’s My Refund” site to track the status of your tax return.