It’s that time of year: Bleary-eyed CPAs are racing toward the April 15 tax deadline in hopes of satisfying the IRS, not to mention clients who have dumped a box full of receipts on their desk.
While many local residents have likely already filed their taxes, it never hurts to become more organized. The result will be quicker filings and a lower tax preparation bill, says Leigh Ann Weinzapfel, a certified public accountant with Weinzapfel & Co. LLC in Evansville.
“Most of our clients are great, but sometimes I see too much information,” Weinzapfel says. “It’s important for people to keep their receipts, but I don’t need a shoe box filled up with a year’s worth of receipts. Putting that information on a spreadsheet will save the tax preparer time, and that saves the client money.”
Here are 10 categories of items that Weinzapfel does want to see:
1. Three years’ worth of federal and state returns.
2. Information on dependents, including Social Security numbers and child care expenses.
3. W-2, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-B forms. These cover wages, income from interest, dividends, and stock transactions.
4. Business income and expenses, including 1099-MISC for sole proprietors, and Form K-1 for shareholders and partnerships.
5. Retirement plan withdrawals/contributions, plus Social Security benefits (1099-SSA).
6. Income and expenses related to rental properties you own.
7. Itemized deductions. Supporting documents are needed for all charitable contributions, and receipts are required for $250 and above. Don’t forget about unreimbursed business expenses (uniforms, dues, investment expenses, tax preparation fees, safe deposit rentals) in addition to the usual deductions of mortgage interest, medical, state and local income taxes or sales tax, real estate taxes, and personal property taxes.
8. Form HUD-1 if you bought or sold a house, regardless of whether a taxable gain or loss occurred.
9. For those who pay throughout the year, a list of estimated federal and state taxes paid.
10. Copies of any IRS or state revenue department correspondence.
“Probably the most overlooked deduction is excise tax on our vehicles,” according to Weinzapfel. “For the average family, that’s a $200 to $400 deduction — not a lot, but enough that it’s worth noting.”
Unfortunately, April 16 is not a party day in the Weinzapfel offices. Extensions occasionally must be filed with the IRS, and businesses often have later reporting deadlines. “Oct. 15 seems to be the end of tax season,” Weinzapfel says. “If we’re going to take the family on vacation somewhere, that’s usually the earliest we can get away.”
Just in time for it to start all over again.
Leigh Ann Weinzapfel may be reached at 812-474-1015 or www.weinzapfel.com.