Getting Your Tax Documents in Order

Getting your documents organized

Whether you’re getting ready to file your taxes, planning on taking them to your accountant, or want to organize your papers from past filing periods, there are a few documents that you need to have and keep handy.

Here are some of the items that you should keep with your tax returns, or prepare for future tax returns: 

  • W-2
    Your W-2 informational return lets you know what you made at work and what you paid in taxes. You’ll need it to file your taxes and to get a mortgage.
  • 1099 Forms
    Whenever you get money that doesn’t come from an employer, you should get a 1099 form. As with W-2s, it’s important to save these and report them on your tax return. The IRS has computer-based matching that lines your return up against your 1099 forms, so forgetting one could trigger an audit.
  • 1098 Form
    Sent by your mortgage lender, the 1098 lets you know how much you can write off in interest and points.
  • Tax Bills
    Whether you get them from the state for your car, the county for your property, or someone else, hold on to your tax bills, since they could be deductible.
  • House records
    When you go to sell your house, you’ll be able to use your entire cost, which includes all of your improvements, to offset your sale proceeds. As such, holding onto receipts will help to reduce your tax liability.
  • Investment statements
    While year end statements are usually adequate, you’ll need to be able to establish the cost of any stocks or bonds that you bought. If you have dividend reinvestment plans, this could require quarterly statements.
  • Charitable donation receipts
    When you give to a charity, get a receipt and save it. Even small donations technically need receipts.Any charitable deductions of $250 or more must have an acknowledgement from the recipient before you file your tax return.
  • Supporting deduction receipts
    Anything that you write off needs to be substantiated with a receipt. Furthermore, you should be able to establish why that expense was deductible, so writing notes on the receipts can be a good idea, too.
  • Mileage logs are mandatory
    If you deduct mileage for moving, medical, charitable or business purposes, the IRS want to see the dates of the trip, where you went and how far you drove. Keeping a log is mandatory.

There’s a lot of to get organized to both file your taxes and keep your records ready for any IRS scrutiny.

Contact John for a consultation to get help managing your records.

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