Whether you’re making a switch or working with the same provider as last year, your initial meeting will go more smoothly if you bring everything your tax preparer needs to file your complete tax return. These are some of the items people commonly forget.
TAX RETURN FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR
Your long-term tax advisor should have your last year’s tax return on file. But, if you’re making a switch or you’re a DIYer getting professional tax help for the first time, you’ll need to bring this with you. Here’s why: if you had capital loss carryovers or paid income taxes with your state return during the previous year, you can deduct those items on this year’s return.
TIP: A brand new tax partner can also check to see whether credits or deductions were missed on your previous return. If that’s the case, they may be able to file an amendment and put some of your money back in your pocket—where it belongs.
VEHICLE REGISTRATION TAXES
You’ll need to know the amount of money you paid for the tabs you put on your license plates last year.
TIP: If you don’t remember, you can visit www.dmv.org and look up the amount by entering your driver’s license number.
NON-CASH CHARITABLE DONATIONS
Most people don’t take the time to track and record the items they give away, but these donations can save you money on your taxes. You’ll need to provide item descriptions, dates and relative values, as well as receipts from the charitable organizations.
TIP: Visit goodwill.org for the estimated fair market values of clothing, toys, furniture and more.
CASH CHARITABLE DONATIONS
Those $10 and $15 donations you made throughout the year may seem insignificant, but they can really add up. Be sure to keep the receipts and bring them with you.
TIP: Create a digital or physical folder where you can place receipts for donations as you make them.
UNREIMBURSED EMPLOYEE BUSINESS EXPENSES
These expenses are easy to overlook and often missed. Some items that qualify include parking, business subscriptions, professional dues, union dues, supplies and business mileage (except your drive to and from work).
TIP: Smartphone applications, like MileIQ and Expensify can help you track business expenses automatically.
K-12 EDUCATIONAL COSTS
In Minnesota, you can deduct a variety of educational costs you pay during the year, like private school tuition, all-day kindergarten tuition, school supplies, tutoring and more.
TIP: Keep receipts from back-to-school shopping in the fall. Also, don’t forget to include educational hardware and software purchases.
If you’ve already completed your tax return for this year, you may want to brush up on these strategies that will make you happier at tax time next year.
If you’re searching for a trustworthy tax partner who can help you navigate the sometimes-complicated maze of taxes, accounting and finances, we’d love to hear from you! We have more than 25 years of experience preparing income tax returns for individuals, corporations, LLCs and partnerships.