For Immediate Release
Contact: Gigi Thompson Jarvis
firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.822.6232, x11
Preparing to Meet Your Tax Preparer
(WASHINGTON, DC, February 29, 2012) -- Although once again this year taxpayers have been given a slight reprieve on the federal tax deadline (April 17 will be playing the role of April 15, thanks to a well-placed Sunday, followed by Washington DC’s Emancipation Day on April 16), it’s time for the estimated 60 percent of the American taxpayers who turn their taxes over to a paid preparer to get crackin’! In order to ensure your taxes are done right, your preparer needs to see the right documents.
Here’s a list of some things to bring to make this process a relative breeze.
Last year’s tax return. Lots of important information can be found here, such as Social Security numbers, dependent information and credits and deductions previously taken. Your preparer is off to a running start when you supply this.
W-2. This important document lets your preparer know how much you made and how much has been withheld from your paycheck for state and federal taxes. Your employer has until January 31 to issue your W-2, and if it’s still not in your hands by February 14, you can turn to Uncle Sam for assistance. The IRS will be standing by to assist you at 800.829.1040 on that date and beyond. Before you make the call, be sure you have the following information at the ready: your Social Security number, dates of employment and your employer’s name, address and phone number. IRS will not only contact your employer, but it will also send you a Form 4852 (a substitute Form W-2) to fill out in case you don’t receive the Form W-2 in time to make the tax deadline.
1099 Forms. These forms report a multitude of items not covered by the W-2, including “additional income” (1099-MISC), earned interest (1099-INT), cancellation of debt (1099-C), dividends received (1099-DIV) and proceeds from broker transactions (1099-B). IRS granted Fidelity an extension on the February 15 deadline to issue 1099s, so its customers should have them in hand around February 28.
1098 Forms. No homeowner wants to miss out on that mortgage interest deduction, which has been known to make a real difference in whether you owe or are getting a refund! Also in the 1098 family is the reporting of student loan interest paid and charitable contributions.
K-1 Forms. These show income from a partnership, small business or trust.
Some other things to think about: If you collected unemployment benefits at any time during the year, that money is generally taxable and you will need to bring a form 1099-G. For state filing, you’ll want to remember to include any personal property tax paid – for example, on your automobile. Did you collect Social Security, rent a property, receive self-employment income or pay alimony? Cancelled checks and receipts can help to document expenses you wish to claim, such as those related to a home office. Job search expenses, moving expenses, college expenses and childcare can all be deductable under certain circumstances. Medical expenses might be deductible, but the bar is high.
While this list is not comprehensive, it should get you off to a great start. When choosing a preparer, keep in mind that IRS now requires all paid preparers to register and have a Tax Preparer Identification Number (PTIN), and if your preparer does not have one, he or she is practicing outside the law. Enrolled agents (EAs) certified public accountants (CPAs) and attorneys can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals. Because they are federally licensed, only enrolled agents, “America’s tax experts,” have unlimited representation rights in 50 states – locate one in your area on the “Find an EA” directory at www.naea.org.