It’s time to start your 2014 tax preparation…here’s what’s new
The Forms are coming indeed, the many tax forms needed for you to file your 2014 tax returns will be in the mail shortly. It is time to start collecting them, as well as the other data that you will need to give to your accountant so that your 2014 tax returns can be prepared. For those of you that daringly prepare your own tax returns, the process is the same.
Time is money!
Whether it is your time or your tax preparer’s time, if you gather your information in an organized way it will usually save you money on your taxes and on the fees paid to your preparer. When a client shows up with a shoe box stuffed full of receipts, you can bet that the fee will be higher than someone who arrives with a folder full of organized documents.
True story: I once had a client that that had neither the time nor the patience to organize his tax “stuff”. In fact, he hated all paperwork related to anything financial. So each February, he brought me a sizable box full of unopened mail. That’s right…unopened mail! If it looked like it was in any way financially related (bank statements, broker statements, etc.) he simply tossed it into a box. That box landed on my desk each year, and his tax return preparation fee? $3,200! He was perfectly content with that, but most people are not.
So let’s go through the best way to do that data organization and what you need to look for.
Look for these third party forms:
1. New This Year!!! Form 1095(A,B or C): This new form is a result of the Affordable Care Act. Most people are not aware that it exists but you MUST be aware of it. This form will come from the Marketplace and you will need it to complete Form 8962 relating to your healthcare if you secured your medical coverage through the Marketplace. Any advance premium tax credits MUST be reconciled with the allowable premium tax credit on Form 8962.If you were in the Marketplace and do not receive a 1095 form, please contact the Marketplace for this information.
2. W-2 Form: You will receive these from your employer. Look it over carefully because mistakes can be made by your employer. Check the 401(K) contribution and check the retirement plan box. If you are not in the company retirement plan, and don’t meet other certain conditions, having that box checked will directly affect any IRA contributions you might want to make. If the W-2 does not look correct to you, don’t be afraid to ask your employer how the numbers were arrived at. During the year, you should keep an eye on your pay stubs to be sure that they are correct.
3. W-2G Form: You will receive this form for certain gambling winnings.
4. 1099 Forms: There are various types of 1099 forms. You will receive 1099MISC from firms that you did contract work for. Banks and brokers send them to you for interest and dividends that you received (1099INT and 1099DIV). You may also receive Form 1099B from the sale of securities. The information from these forms has all been reported to the IRS so it is important that you report it correctly. Otherwise you WILL receive a notice from the IRS.
5. 1099R: This form will report your IRA, pension and annuity income.
6. 1099G: This form reports unemployment income as well as prior year state tax refunds.
7. SSA-1099: This form reports your Social Security income.
8. 1098 Forms: There are also various 1098 forms. The 1098 form is your mortgage interest expense statement. You will need this to claim your deduction. The 1098E will report your student loan interest while the 1098T will be your tuition statement should you have education-related expenses.
9. Form K-1: You will receive this form from an entity such as a partnership, S-Corporation or Trust in which you have an interest.
The information from these forms has all been reported to the IRS so it is important that you report it correctly. Otherwise you WILL receive a notice from the IRS.
Make no mistake, there are other forms that you might receive for cancellation of debt or other items, but those noted above are the most common.
WHERE DO I START?
Start by looking at your 2013 tax return! Go through each item and expense that you had in the prior year so that you can begin by accumulating those documents for 2014. Then look at your expense and credit items. Go to your Schedule A if you itemized deductions and gather your medical expenses, your real estate and personal property taxes.
Then look to collecting your charitable contributions, both cash and non-cash, and be sure that you have back up receipts to support them. Consider if you have unreimbursed business expenses for your job. And don’t forget your mileage for the medical, business or charitable miles that you traveled! For 2014, the IRS expense allowances for each are 23.5 cents, 56 cents and 14 cents, respectively, plus parking and toll fees.
Next page: Own a business? Want to save money?