The taxpayers in America today have a lot of options available to them when it comes to filing for their income tax returns. If you are earning a modest income, work for someone else, or don’t have a mortgage, then your tax situation is bound to be fairly simple. However, not all tax situations are similar, and different people have different means and sources of income, which means that they have to submit different documents in order to complete their taxes.
A lot of people struggle to file their taxes and therefore end up hiring accountants in order to complete their tax payments. To ensure that you have a successful trip to the tax preparer’s office; you need to ensure that you have the right documentation with you. Unfortunately, not a lot of people know about the documents that are required to file for their taxes, which is why we have decided to provide you with that information. So here are some of the documents that you will be required to bring to the tax preparer’s office in order to do your taxes.
You need to provide proof of your identification, which means that you will have to bring a photo ID, a driver’s license, military ID or passport. You also need to have your Social Security card, as well as your spouse’s, if you are claiming them as a dependent. If you’re married and filing for tax jointly, then you should make sure that you bring your spouse with you, since they will need to sign the tax return.
Every single year, the IRS rejects several tax returns, simply because the Social Security Numbers and the names on the forms don’t match. So make sure that you bring along all proofs of your identification to ensure that such a situation doesn’t happen to you.
Proof of income
You need to provide complete proof of your income when you are filing for income tax returns. The IRS needs to know about every single dollar that you have earned that year, and the source of your income as well. This means that you will have to provide documents for everything that is related to your income. There is however, a difference between earned income (salary and wages) and unearned income (Social Security, retirement benefits, alimony, dividends, interests, etc).
You should thus, have an official income statement with you, which will have the complete details of the earned income in a single year. You should also make sure that you bring those documents with you when you come to the tax preparer’s office. You should also provide evidence of income that don’t require official IRS income statements.
Here are some of the different types of income that you will need to report to the tax preparer’s office. You should also bring along an income statement, pay stub, receipt, or other proof of income from each source:
- Self-employment income
- Rental income
- Income from employers
- Foreign earned income
- Prizes and awards
- State tax refunds
- Gambling earnings
- Unemployment benefits
- Investment income from sale of dividends, interest or stock, etc.
- Social Security benefits
- Retirement income from the IRA, annuity or pension
Once the tax preparer has gotten all of your income related documents, they will start chipping away at the taxable income and will then make exemptions and deductions.
Proof of expenses
The main reason that you should always seek professional help when doing your taxes is to increase your itemized deductions. All taxpayers are allowed a standard deduction, from their taxable income, and with the help of documents that have your expenses stated in them, you can further shrink your tax burden even more. That is the reason why you should always keep your receipts, since the biggest deductions will happen in the form of business expenses.
Here are some of the expenses that quality for itemized deductions. You will need to provide proof and receipts in order to claim each deduction:
- Medical expenses
- Mortgage interest
- Business expenses
- Self-employment expenses
- Charitable contributions
- IRA contributions
- Job hunting expenses
- Tax preparation fees from last year
- Union dues
- State, local and foreign taxes
These are some of the most common deductions and expenses, but there are plenty of other unique situations, which people can use to claim large deductions on their taxes.
Proof of disaster, theft, and other unexpected losses
It may seem to you that the IRS is your biggest enemy and is out to hurt you, but that isn’t the case. There are lots of provisions in the tax code that are made for people who are victims of unexpected losses, which have had a major impact on their finances. The tax code also looks after people who have suffered from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. There are special deductions and exemptions for all those people who have been living in federally declared disaster areas.
In order to qualify for such exemptions, you will need to provide documents that identify loss of property, rebuilding costs and clean-up expenses. You will also need to have a note from FEMA assistance of insurance reimbursements that you have claimed already.
There are different payment methods when you are preparing for your taxes, and for most Americans, April 15 isn’t the only day that they have to pay taxes. All salaried employees have a portion of their pay deducted every month in order to compensate the federal income tax, state and local tax and Social Security and Medicare contributions. When tax day comes around, nearly 80% of all American taxpayers get a refund, which the IRS will pay back at the end of the year.
If you are one of those lucky individuals, then you need to bring all your bank account information and documents to the tax preparers’ office. This will provide the IRS with proof that you made the payment, and since there are numerous payment methods, it helps ensure that you get exactly the amount that you are entitled to receive.