Tax Prep For Your 2017 Return: Opening The Mail

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The tax information has begun to arrive.  

Open those envelopes! If you don’t, you won’t know if you are missing any pertinent information. Look for 1099s from your mutual fund companies, banks, clients, Social Security and pension providers. Your Mortgage Company will send you a 1098.

Check to be sure your W-2s have arrived and they are correct. If not, call your employer and ask that another be sent out. Be sure they have your correct address.

If any of them are incorrect get it straightened out. The payer has until the end of February to send their copies of that information to the IRS.

If you use software such as Quicken, gathering your tax information will be easy. You can print out your tax reports such as the amount you paid in medical expenses, real estate taxes or contributions. You can also import information from Quicken to Turbo Tax. There are tutorials that can help.

Over 90% of tax returns were e-filed last year. And of that number over 53 million taxpayers prepared and e-filed their own taxes. Using tax prep software does make the job really easy. You just keep answering the questions they ask and before you know it the tax return is done.

But you should have some knowledge about the kinds of things you will need before you start the process. And you will need to organize all of your information before you start.

  • What’s your filing status? Single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child.
  • Social Security numbers for everyone on your tax return
  • Birth dates for everyone on your tax return
  • Gather your W-2s, W-2Gs (for your Power Ball winnings), 1099s. These provide proof of income and taxes paid.
  • Proof of any tax credits, tax deductions, or tax exclusions
  • If you think you are going to get a refund your banking info for direct deposit

Haul out last year’s tax return and review it before you start the process for this year.

One more thing:  Art Ford, an accountant & CFP sent ME this ditty out about a magical box to his clients. If you follow his instructions life will be so much easier when you go to file your taxes.

This time of year there are many stories of missing tax information –tired and misunderstood CPAs -too numerous to detail –a way to deal with this is the Magical Box.

As the year’s end approaches you have an opportunity to adopt this Magical way of keeping and retaining your tax information.

This requires no training – you do not have to take a course -

Purchase a new pair of shoes or boots -

Wear the shoes

Keep the box

You can decorate the box to your taste

As your tax information arrives – put that in the box

Repeat as needed

In February you will open the box and magically you will see your tax information

It is well known people using the box are much happier

Incidence of divorce is much less

If by chance you do get divorced –sorry – but keep the box

Art Ford, CPA/PFS, CFP

If you are going to go it alone request IRS publication 17. Request the IRS send you a copy. (800.829.3676). It’s a good read for it has everything you need to know about changes in the tax laws for 2017 that will affect your tax return. It’s easy but tedious reading.

You are going to need to organize this stuff whether you do the taxes yourself or hire someone else to do them for you. Even if you hire someone you should understand your taxes and review the information carefully before you sign that return.

You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.

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