Tax Tips and Tidbits

January 17, 2017

 By Steven R. Anderson E.A.

 

This week’s Tax Tips and tidbits covers one of the most asked question I receive this time of year, “What do I need to bring in order to get my taxes done?”

The answer to this question is not as easy as you might think because everyone’s tax situation is different, but there are a few blanket items to start off with.

A copy of your driver’s license or other photo ID (and your spouse’s if married).  This is new this year and is required by New York State in order to process the return.

The name, social security number and birthdate of everyone on your return.  This includes you, your spouse, and anyone you are claiming as a dependent, or claiming a credit for.

You should also be prepared to talk about anyone else living in your household.  Most of the time the issue of dependency is straightforward, but it can get very complex, and you might end up with a deduction that you didn’t expect.

Next you will need all the reporting documents that you received:

If you worked for someone you will receive a W-2 form from each employer.

If you have interest or dividends from investments you will receive a form 1099.

If you have a mortgage through a bank, you will receive form 1098.  If you have a private mortgage, you will need the name and social security number of the person that you paid in addition to the amount of interest paid.

If your property taxes are not paid through an escrow account, you will need the amounts paid for both the county and school taxes.  If they are paid through escrow, make sure that the amount is listed somewhere on your 1098.  Banks are not required to report this amount, but many do as a service.

If you pay college tuition, or student loan interest, you will need form 1098T, or form 1098E.

All of these reporting document should come in envelopes labeled, “Important Tax Return Document Enclosed.”

In addition to the reporting document, you should bring any documents or receipts to back up deduction that you are claiming, for example, charitable contributions, or business mileage.

If you are claiming the credit for child care expenses, you will need the name, address, and ID number of the day care provider.

At the end of this article you will find a tax organizer that will be helpful even if you prepare your own taxes.  This organizer is quite comprehensive and not every item will apply to everyone.

 

Steven Anderson is an Enrolled Agent, licensed to practice before the IRS.  He is the owner of the Beacon and Pawling franchises of H&R Block where he holds a Master Tax Advisor certification and has 27+ years of experience.  Steve is also a graduate of the National Tax Practice Institute and a member of the American Society of Tax Problem Solvers, with specialization in collection cases.

 

2016 Individual Taxpayer Organizer                                        

 

Name of Taxpayer SS#
First                                     M.I.       Last Email
Occupation Date of birth Are you new to our firm?                Yes                No
Address City State Zip
County Home phone Work or cell
Name of Spouse SS#
First                                     M.I.       Last Email
Occupation Date of birth Are you new to our firm?                Yes                No

(Enter information below only if different from Taxpayer)

Address City State Zip
County Home phone Work or cell
If you moved during 2016, enter your previous address. Date of move

Filing status:             Single             Married Filing Jointly                Married Filing Separately     Widow(er)                          Head of Household     Unsure Were you divorced or separated during the year?                                        Yes          No                                           Were there any deaths in the family?             Yes          No Have you received any notice from the IRS or state revenue department within the past year?   Yes                        No

Same-sex married couples are required to file as Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately for federal returns, regardless of where the married couple lives. Individuals who are in registered domestic partnerships (RDPs) and civil unions are not considered married for federal tax purposes.

Names of dependent children

Child’s full name

 

Social Security #

 

Date of birth

Months lived in home in 2016 Relationship to taxpayer College student?

Did any of the children have income above $1,050 for the year?                Yes          No                       Do any of the children have a disability?                Yes          No Is it anticipated that a different taxpayer will seek to claim a child listed above as their dependent for tax year 2016?                                Yes          No

 

Other dependents or people who lived with you

Name Social Security # Date of birth Relationship Income

If you are due a refund, would you like it directly deposited into your bank account? Name of bank

 

Checking         Savings Routing transit number Account number

Ask your tax preparer for information about depositing a refund into an IRA account or splitting the deposit into more than one account.

 

“You” refers to both taxpayer and spouse — enter “?” if unsure about a question.

LIFESTYLE & TAXES Yes           No Are either you or your spouse legally blind?
Yes           No Did you pay or receive alimony in 2016? Paid/Received $ Recipient’s SS#
Yes           No Did you have health insurance for you, your spouse, and all dependents for the entire year?
Yes           No Did you purchase health insurance through a public exchange?
Yes           No Will there be any significant changes in income or deductions next year, such as retirement?
Yes           No Have you paid alternative minimum tax (AMT) in previous years?
Yes           No Did you pay anyone for domestic services in your home?
Yes           No Did you purchase a new energy-efficient car, truck, or van?
Yes           No Are you involved in bankruptcy, foreclosure, repossession, or had any debt (including credit cards) cancelled?
Yes           No Are you a member of the military?
Yes           No Were you a citizen of or lived in a foreign country?
Yes           No Do you own or have financial interest in a foreign bank or financial account?
Yes           No Would you like to allow your tax preparer or another person to discuss your return with the IRS?

Designee’s name                                                             Phone number                                                             PIN (any five digits)

CHILDREN & EDUCATION Yes           No Were any children born or adopted in 2016? (Provide statement for other expenses.)
Yes              No Were any children attending college? Year in college Paid by you:  Tuition  $ Student loan interest $ Books  $
Paid by student:  Tuition  $ Student loan interest $ Books  $
Yes              No Did you pay any tuition for a private school for a dependent or take classes yourself?
Student Amount paid  $
Name and address of school
Yes              No Did you pay for child or dependent care so you could work or go to school? (add statement if needed)
Name of provider EIN or SS #
Address Amount paid  $
Yes           No Do you have any children who earned more than $2,100 of investment income?
INVESTMENTS Yes           No Did you, or will you, contribute any money to an IRA for 2016?
Yes           No Did you roll over any amounts from a retirement account in 2016?
Yes           No Did you sell or transfer any stock or sell rental or investment property?
Yes           No Did you have any investments become worthless or were you a victim of investment theft in 2016?
Yes           No Were you granted, or did you exercise, any employee stock options during 2016?
DEDUCTIONS Yes           No Did you pay any interest on a loan for a boat or RV that has living quarters? If yes, provide details.
Yes           No Did you pay sales taxes on a major purchase in 2016, such as a vehicle, boat, or home?
Yes           No Did you have any uninsured loss to your property in 2016?
BUSINESS Yes           No Did you work from a home office or use your car for business?
Yes           No Did you receive any income from an installment sale?
Yes           No Do you own a business or an interest in a partnership, corporation, LLC, farming activities, or other venture?
HOME Yes           No Did you purchase or sell a main home during the year? If yes, provide closing statement.
Yes           No If you sold a home, did you claim the First-Time Homebuyer Credit when it was purchased? If yes, provide details.
Yes           No Did you refinance a mortgage or take a home equity loan? (Provide closing statement)
Yes           No Did you use any mortgage loan proceeds for purposes other than to buy, build, or substantially improve your home?
Yes           No Did you make any new energy-efficient improvements to your home? If yes, provide details.

State information          Full-year resident               Part-year resident               Nonresident States of residence during 2016 and dates

School district                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you rent or own your home?             Rent            Own

 

 

 

Provide to your preparer all Forms W-2, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-R, 1099-MISC, and other income reporting statements. Do not list dollar amounts for the following forms. Your preparer will report the appropriate amounts.

Indicate “T” for taxpayer, “S” for spouse, “J” for joint                                                          Provide additional statements if more room is needed

 

Forms W-2 — Wage and Tax Statement

T/S Employer name T/S Employer name
1) 4)
2) 5)
3) 6)

Forms 1099-INT — Interest Income

T/S/J Name of issuer T/S/J Name of issuer
1) 4)
2) 5)
3) 6)

Forms 1099-DIV — Dividends and Distributions

T/S/J Name of issuer T/S/J Name of issuer
1) 4)
2) 5)
3) 6)

Forms 1099-R — Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, Etc.

T/S Name of issuer T/S Name of issuer
1) 4)
2) 5)
3) 6)

If the distribution is before age 59½, give a reason to determine if an exception to penalty applies.

Tax-Exempt Interest (such as municipal bonds — include statement)

Payer                                                                                                                                                                                                  $

Other Income

 

State tax refund $ Unreported tips $
Alimony $ Other $
Unemployment compensation $ $
Social Security (taxpayer) — provide SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 $ $
Social Security (spouse)— provide SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 $ $
Business income (see Sole Proprietorship Tax Organizer) Stock sales See “Sales and Exchanges Worksheet” below.
Rental income (see Rental Property Tax Organizer) Sale of other property
Sales and Exchanges Worksheet

Provide information about sales of stock, real estate, or other property, along with Forms 1099-B, 1099-S, or other supporting statements.

Description of property Purchase date Cost/basis Sell date Sale price
$ $
$ $
$ $

Notes:

  • When stock is sold, you will usually receive Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, reporting the proceeds from the sale. However, your statement will not always provide the cost/basis information necessary to compute gain or loss. If the statement does not contain the cost/basis information, you must provide it. You may need to contact your broker for questions about cost/basis and purchase dates of your stock accounts.
  • Often, “transfers” of stock or mutual funds within a brokerage account are actually sales of one type of stock and purchase of another. Even if you did not receive any cash from the transaction, you may have taxable gain or loss.
  • If your stock dividends are automatically reinvested, the dividends will be taxable even though you did not receive any cash. The transaction is treated as if you had received cash and purchased additional stock. When the stock is sold, the amount reinvested over the years is taken into account. You may need to contact your broker for questions about the amount of reinvested dividends.
  • If you sold property other than stock, your taxable gain or loss will be determined by your cost/basis. The cost/basis is usually the original purchase price plus improvements (the cost of repairs and maintenance are not taken into account for cost/basis).

 

 

Deductions must exceed $6,300 Single, $12,600 MFJ, $9,300 HOH, or $6,300 MFS to be a tax benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Expenses. Must exceed 10% (7.5% for taxpayers age 65 or older) of income to be a benefit — include cost for dependents — do not include any expenses that were reimbursed by insurance. Charitable Contributions. If over $500 in noncash charitable contributions, provide details of contributions. New rules require that the taxpayer retain documentation for all cash contributions.
Dentists $ Hospitals $ Cash $
Doctors $ Insurance $ Noncash contributions (FMV). Clothing or household items must be in good used condition or better.  

$

Equipment $ Prescriptions $
Eyeglasses $ Other $ Did you transfer funds from an IRA directly to a charity?      Yes      No  

$

Medical miles:                                        @ 19¢
Charitable mileage
Taxes Paid. Do not include taxes paid for full or partial business or rental-use property, including business use of the home.
Casualty and Theft Losses
State withholding Reported on W-2 If you suffered any sudden, unexpected damage or loss of property, or a theft, provide details to your tax preparer.              Yes              No
State estimated taxes — paid in 2016 $
Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions. The following must exceed 2% of income to be a benefit. For use of home, or auto mileage, or other job-related expenses, provide information on a separate sheet.

Were any expenses reimbursed by your employer?              Yes              No

Real estate tax — residence $
Real estate tax — other $
Personal property taxes $
Property tax refund — received in 2016 $ (                    ) Dues $ Supplies $
Foreign tax paid $ Investment expenses $ Tax prep fees $
Other $
Job education $ Tools $
Other $
Job seeking $ Uniforms $
Balance paid in 2016 from prior year returns (do not include interest or penalties)  

$

Legal fees $ Union dues $
Did you keep receipts for sales tax paid during 2016?    Yes    No Did you purchase a car, plane, boat, or home in 2016?  Yes   No Sales tax paid  $              Purchase paid $             Date

Interest Paid. Do not include interest paid for full or partial business or rental-use property, including business use of the home. Provide all Forms 1098 or lender information and ID numbers.

Licenses $ Other $
Safety equipment $ Other $
Subscriptions $ Other $
Other Miscellaneous Deductions. The following deductions are not subject to a 2% of income limit.
Gambling losses $ Federal estate tax on IRD $
Main home $ Equity loan $
Second home $ Equity loan $ Impairment- related expenses $ Loss from box 2, K-1, Form 1065B $
Points $ Investment interest $

Did you pay a mortgage insurance premium when you purchased your home? Amount $                           Date

 

 

 

 

Notes:     • Gambling losses are deductible only up to the amount of gambling winnings reported. A log must be kept to verify losses.

  • Work clothing is not deductible if adaptable for every day Exception for safety equipment, such as steel-toe boots.
  • Legal expenses are deductible only if related to producing or collecting taxable
  • Expenses to enable individuals, who are physically or mentally impaired, to work are generally
Adjustments Worksheet
Educator expenses. Classroom expenses of teachers, counselors, and principals. Maximum $250 each. $
Health savings account deduction (HSA). $
Self-employed SEP, SIMPLE, and qualified plans. Some contributions for 2016 may be made in 2017. $
Self-employed health insurance deduction. Sole proprietors, partners, and 2% S corporation shareholders if not eligible for employer coverage.  

$

Penalty on early withdrawal of savings. $
IRA deduction. For traditional IRAs. Roth IRAs are not deductible. Some contributions for 2016 may be made in 2017. $
Student loan interest deduction. Paid for taxpayers and dependents. Income limits apply. $
Tuition and fees deduction. Qualified tuition and fees if not claiming education credits. Income limits apply. $
Moving expenses. Job-related move and at least 50 mile increase in commuting distance. Ask preparer
Business expenses of reservists, performing artists, and fee-based government officials. Ask preparer
Estimated Tax Payments — Tax Year 2016
Installment Date paid Federal Date paid State
First $ $
Second $ $
Third $ $
Fourth $ $
Amount applied from 2015 refund? $ $
Total $ $
Tax Preparation Checklist

Please provide the following documentation:

All Forms W-2 (wages), 1099-INT (interest), 1099-DIV (dividends), 1099-B (proceeds from broker or barter transactions), 1099-R (pensions and IRA distributions), Schedules K-1 from partnerships, S corporations, estates and trusts, and other income reporting statements, including all copies provided from the payer.

Form 1095-A (for health insurance purchased through a public exchange), Form 1095-B (for health insurance purchased outside of a public exchange), or Form 1095-C (for employer-provided health insurance coverage).

If you are a new client, provide copies of last year’s tax returns.

The completed Individual Income Tax Organizer. Note: If you choose not to fill out the organizer, you must at least answer the “Yes” or “No” questions under “Questions — All Taxpayers.”

Copy of the closing statement if you bought or sold real estate.

Mileage figures for any automobile expenses claimed, including total mileage, commuting mileage, and business mileage. Detail of estimated tax payments made, if any.

Income and deductions categorized on a separate sheet for business or rental activities.

List of itemized deductions categorized on a separate sheet for medical, taxes, interest, charitable, and miscellaneous deductions. Copy of all acknowledgement letters received from charitable organizations for contributions made in 2016.