Tax Tip: What your tax preparer needs from you

So you have chosen a tax professional to prepare your tax return. What information should you give them?

Robert D. Flach
by Robert D. Flach, MainStreet contributor

 

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — So you have chosen a tax professional to prepare your 2012 Form 1040. What information should you give him or her?

Begin with all copies of all W-2s, 1099s, 1098s and K-1s from all sources. Make and keep a photocopy of your W-2s, as you may need it for college financial aid or other applications.

Include a detailed listing of itemized deductions, rental income and expenses, self-employment income and expenses and child-care expenses. Your preparer doesn't need to see the individual bills, receipts or canceled checks — a detailed list or worksheet with specific numbers is sufficient.

“Claim the maximum” or “Whatever I am allowed” or “Same as last year” won’t cut it. The maximum is what you actually paid, and you are allowed what you actually paid! Give your tax pro actual, specific numbers.

READ: Understanding itemized tax deductions

It is important to list the Social Security or Employer Identification Number for all child care providers. The IRS will disallow the Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses if you do not provide an identifying number on the Form 2441.

Provide your preparer with all year-end statements, reports, booklets and other literature received from brokerage accounts and mutual funds. The statements will contain details on cost basis, purchases, dividend reinvestment, margin interest, management fees, etc., and booklets often include information on income from U.S. government obligations useful in preparing your state return. I also ask clients to give me the final pay stub for the year for each employer.

And be sure to give him or her the dates of birth for yourself, your spouse and all dependent children.