1099K – What To Do With It

January 31, 2012 by Jan Roberg · 1 Comment
Filed under: Small Business 
Credit card companieS!

Photo by Eliazar Parra Cardenas on flickr.com

Did you get a 1099K form in the mail? Are you wondering what to do with it? I was a little confused when I saw the first one because I was told they weren’t going to be happening. Oops. Somebody didn’t get the memo.

Anyway, if you’ve gotten a 1099K – that’s the form from your credit card company that says how much money was charged on credit cards to your business – you’re probably wondering how to report it. If you’ve been looking for information, you may have noticed that there’s conflicting information out there. It’s because there isn’t a definitive “this is what you’ve got to do” answer from the IRS. So here’s how I will be doing it on my returns; I think it makes sense and will be good with the IRS.

You’ll note that the line that says 1099K income doesn’t work when you try to input it into your software. That’s because the IRS won’t be using that line. Your computer’s not broken, the software isn’t broken. The change came sometime in August and the new line was already put into the forms. The IRS decided that since the line was coming back for 2012, they’d leave it there but just blank it out for now. You’re not crazy, it’s the way it was set up.

Even though you don’t get to use that line, you still want to report that income. This is how I say you should do it:

Make a worksheet for your income line. Show the 1099K income reported as one number. Show your other income reported as another. The total should read as the total income for your business.

Here’s an example: let’s say you took in $50,000 in revenue for 2011. You know your total revenue figure. You receive a 1099K that says you were paid $20,000 with credit cards. On your income worksheet you list:

  • Credit card income reported on 1099K – $20,000
  • Other revenue not on 1099K – $30,000

Easy enough, right? That’s my recommendation. In fairness, the CPA down the hall says to just ignore the 1099K and report the $50,000 straight. Here’s why I disagree. I do audit work for a living. If this comes back to bite you in the butt, you’re going to be glad you listed the 1099K as a separate line item. It’s not that the CPA dude is wrong, it’s just a covering your behind kind of thing.

If your credit card company is sending you an IRS reporting form, it’s highly likely that they’re sending that same form to the IRS. If the IRS pulls your return up for audit, don’t you think they’re going to ask about the $20,000 on the 1099K? If you’ve already listed it separately, well, that’s an audit letter they might not need to send.

Here’s some other issues you may have with the 1099K:

  1. The credit card company reports the full amount of the charge, not the amount less fees withheld. For example: lets say you charge your customer $300. The credit card company withholds their fees and only sends you $292.50. You’ll have to think about how you’ve been reporting that. Lots of businesses record their revenues as the actual income that comes into the bank – charge less the fees. Your 1099K will report the income as $300–you’ll need to make sure that you expense those fees out.
  2. Same issue with sales tax. Many retailers just record sales and keep the tax separate. Your 1099K will give the whole dollar amount charged – you’ll need to remember to back out your sales tax.
  3. Restaurant owners, beauty salons, anyplace that accepts tips: if a customer charged a tip, you’re going to have to back out the tips paid to your workers. The entire charge is being reported on the 1099K.

Are you starting to see how this could be a bit difficult? Don’t forget places that give “cash back” to customers, that’s going to be another expense you’ll have to remember.

Bottom line – there will be a lot of forgiveness this year in the reporting of your 1099K income. People are going to be confused and the IRS is fully aware of it. But if you’re already getting 1099K statements, you’ll want to do your best to report it correctly now. It’s so much easier to do it right the first time than to be “forgiven” for doing it wrong.

EIC Help Page

January 27, 2012 by Jan Roberg · 4 Comments
Filed under: Earned Income Credit 
Life's a little bit easier with EITC

It’s that time of year and we’re getting bombarded with questions about the Earned Income Tax Credit. Here’s some of the most popular questions and where to get the answers you need.

My ex has custody of my kids, but the divorce decree says that I get to claim the exemption. My ex says that she gets to because she has custody. I don’t get it, what should we do?

You’re in a situation where you “split” the exemption. Here’s information about how to do that legally: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%E2%80%94-the-legal-way/

According to my divorce decree, I’m supposed to claim the exemption for my child but my ex claimed her anyway. Should I send a copy of the decree to the IRS or the judge?

I’m not an attorney so I can’t give legal advice, but this post has information on IRS rules and court ordered exemptions: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/court-ordered-exemptions-and-the-irs/

My child’s daddy is out of the picture. My boyfriend has been living with us for three years now and he’s the primary support for my child. Can my boyfriend claim may child on his tax return because it will give us a bigger refund?

No. And here’s all the reasons why: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2012/01/can-my-boyfriend-claim-my-child-by-a-different-father-on-his-tax-return-for-the-earned-income-credit/

I went to file my taxes and they got rejected. The IRS says that somebody else used my children’s social security numbers on their tax return. What do I do now?

Basically, you’re going to paper file your tax return. Here’s more information: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/01/my-ex-claimed-my-kid-now-what-do-i-do/

What do I need to do to qualify for the Earned Income Credit?

There are some basic rules that anybody claiming EIC will have to meet, like having a valid Social Security number for one thing. Here’s a list of the rules: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/12/eight-basic-rules-to-qualify-for-the-earned-income-tax-credit/

What if I need more information?

The IRS has the EITC home page. (EIC and EITC are the same thing; earned income credit = earned income tax credit.) They have lots of worksheets to help you determine if you qualify for EIC if your children qualify, and where to get help preparing your return. Here’s the link: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96406,00.html

Now if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can always call the IRS – their phone number is 1 (800) 829-1040. Their phones have been slammed lately so you may be on hold for awhile. A few tips: call early in the morning – like 7 am, or later in the day – like after 6pm. And it’s better to call later in the week; Monday’s the worst day to call the IRS. Please be patient and kind to the IRS agent that is answering your question – they have special rules and procedures they are required to follow.

The 2% Payroll Tax Cut

January 24, 2012 by Jan Roberg · 1 Comment
Filed under: High Income Earners 
Capital Hill

Photo by James Manners on flickr.com

Do you make over $110,100 per year? If so, then you need to read and understand this.

That 2% payroll tax cut that Congress extended for January and February – did you know that if you make over $18,350 for those two months that you will have to pay back a 2% surcharge on that income next year at tax time?

Now I keep hearing, “Don’t worry, Congress will fix that.” But let’s get realistic – how often can you count on Congress to “fix” anything these days?

I think the biggest problem is that this got passed and most people don’t have a clue that they could have a very real problem when they file their taxes next year.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say that Fred Taxpayer earns $250,000 a year in W2 wages from his law firm. That works out to $41,667 for the 2 month period. 41,667 minus 18,350 equals $23,317. Fred is going to be taxed an extra 2% on that $23,317. Fred can’t take any deductions to write off against this tax, no tax credits or offsets. It’s just a straight 2% on the $23,317.

Now I hear what some of you are saying – that’s only $466 and if Fred already makes $250,000 a year you’re not feeling too sorry for him. The point is that it’s a stealth tax, shoved under the rug and not discussed openly. Surprise, Fred! Here’s an extra $466 you have to spend on taxes that no one told you about.

But for some folks, it’s even worse. Let’s say Fred gets his annual bonus in January. Fred did a really good job and got a $50,000 bonus from the firm. There’s another $1000 added to Fred’s tax bill. Remember, there are no deductions or tax credits to offset this tax. And, this is tax money that is in addition to the regular income tax he’s already going to have to pay.

If you’re a high wage earner, be aware that this is happening. Put the extra 2% that you’re theoretically saving and plug it into a savings account because you’ll have to pay part of it back later.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, the rank and file House and Senate salary is $174,000 a year. That means they’ll pay an extra $213. Most members of Congress don’t prepare their own taxes because “our tax system is too complicated.” I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them don’t even realize that they voted for this.

If you’d like something to back up my story, here’s a link to the IRS website outlining the new rules: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=251650,00.html

Three Problems With Turbo Tax and How to Fix Them

January 20, 2012 by Jan Roberg · 100 Comments
Filed under: Do It Yourself 
Day 30 - Working late makes me..

Photo by Phil and Pam Gradwell on flickr.com

First, full disclosure: I love Turbo Tax. I used to tell people that I’d do TV commercials for it. I even seriously considered going to work for the company. I have worked for one of their competitors – and I still like Turbo Tax better. So when I title this blog post as “Problems With Turbo Tax”, you’re not going to find an exposé of all things bad with the company. This is just a heads up for people using the number one tax software in America.

Problem number 1: “The program won’t let me…” This is the one I hear most often, “The program won’t let me change the number, it won’t let me delete my neighbor’s child.” Turbo Tax is great when you’re in the act of preparing your taxes, but it’s not as easy to go back in and make a change if you’ve done something wrong and need to correct it. For example: one of the things I do is review tax returns that people have prepared for themselves before they send them to the IRS. (I charge a fee for that but it’s much cheaper than paying me to do your taxes for you.) One year, I reviewed a woman’s return and she had put a $4,000 tax credit on her return. That was wrong; the $4,000 belonged someplace else. I explained the problem and where the $4,000 needed to go. Granted, she wasn’t going to get that big refund she was expecting, but her return would have been right. Anyway, a few months later she was in my office again. She had received a notice from the IRS stating that she wasn’t allowed to claim that $4,000 tax credit I had warned her about. I asked her, “Why didn’t you change it like I told you to?” “Because Turbo Tax wouldn’t let me,” she said.

Dealing with that problem: First, you need to know that “Turbo Tax wouldn’t let me,” is not an acceptable excuse in Tax Court. Second, one thing that Turbo Tax does well is that they have real people who can answer your questions. You call the phone number and you get to talk to an Enrolled Agent who understands tax issues and the Turbo Tax software. You can tell her you’ve got a number on line 53 but it really belongs on line 29 but you can’t figure out how to make it work and she’ll guide you through it. You might pay a little more for Turbo Tax to get that service, but it’s there when you need it so don’t be afraid to use it.

Problem 2: Choosing the right product. Turbo Tax has 5 versions of its product, plus its online applications. In the store you can buy:

  • Basic – for simple tax returns with no itemized deductions
  • Deluxe – for regular 1040 returns with home mortgage interest and charitable deductions
  • Premier – which includes everything in Deluxe but also handles investment income and rental property
  • Home & Business – which is for sole proprietors
  • Business – for persons filing corporations, partnerships and LLCs

I cannot stress this enough, if you need the more expensive package, don’t be cheap – buy it. I’m always amazed when people call me for help because they want to depreciate their income property by hand because Turbo Tax won’t do it for them. Yes it does, if you buy the Premier edition. Of course I will gladly prepare a depreciation schedule for your property (for a fee), but if you don’t use the correct software when preparing your tax return, there could be other problems that you won’t realize like passive income limitations (sounds like I’m speaking Geek doesn’t it? I am.) The right software will keep you out of trouble. And there’s no excuse for buying the wrong one: go to their web site and do their quiz to determine which package is right for you.

Problem 3: Not updating the program before you e-file. This isn’t a Turbo Tax problem so much as it is a user error. You have to install the updates before you file your tax return or it could easily be wrong. Let’s be realistic about this. Turbo Tax tries to get its product to the shelves by December for customers to buy it. This is a pretty good business plan. The problem is; there’s always some last minute change to the tax code. Last year, Congress changed the tax rules on December 17th. They messed things up so badly that the IRS computers weren’t able to accept certain returns on the normal date. Intuit (the Turbo Tax Company) has to get its product out to the stores in time. The only way for them to get the product to the store shelves and have it work correctly is to have people install the updates to the software before they file their returns. If you didn’t install the update, your return could easily have been wrong. Installing updates is a normal part of doing taxes – I update my professional software almost every day. If you don’t have internet access and cannot install the updates, the box might not be your best option.

Now I wrote about these Turbo Tax issues because these are all problems that I have helped people with because they had filed taxes and there was a problem. If you file a bad return and the IRS sends you a letter, I charge a lot to fix it. All of these problems I mention are preventable. You will save yourself lots of money by buying the right program, updating before you file, and making use of the Turbo Tax 1-800 number provided in your box.

Final disclaimer—if you haven’t already purchased your tax software, let me recommend clicking on the “Do Your Own Taxes” page at the top and take a walk through my 1040.com program. It doesn’t have the famous name recognition, but it is a good, solid program. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be on my website.

_______________________________________________________________________

Note:  We try to answer all the questions that come to us but please be patient.  It’s our busy season right now.  We may not get to your post until the weekend.  When you make a post and use the capcha code, it won’t immediately show up.  You see, for every normal person like you that posts, there’s about three advertisements for things your mother wouldn’t approve of.  (We try to keep this a G rated website.)   We have to edit those out.  If you need an answer right away, here are some links that might help:

EIC questions of any kind:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-%E2%80%93–Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

How to find free tax preparers:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

How to find your local IRS office:  http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-Your-Local-IRS-Office-1

If you want to hire us, please call (314) 275-9160 or email us.  We do prepare returns for people all over the country (and a few foreign countries as well.)  We are sorry but we cannot prepare an EIC return for someone outside of the St. Louis area because of the due diligence requirements.

The GOP Tax Proposals

January 17, 2012 by Jan Roberg · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Government 

This is from the American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches. They had a link on their site allowing me to copy and paste; this is not original work by me. But I thought it was informative and for me, if you put things into cartoons, I understand it better. If you’d like to learn more about their organization, here’s a link to their website: http://www.certifiedtaxcoach.org/

Tax Proposals by CertifiedTaxCoach.org
Tax Proposals Infographic by: Certified Tax Coach

Tax Organizer

January 13, 2012 by Jan Roberg · 2 Comments
Filed under: Do It Yourself, Tax Preparation 

I’m not a big fan of tax organizers. I got started in this business many years ago because of a bad CPA (if he was even a real CPA). He had me fill out a 20 page long ‘organizer,’ which quite frankly, I figured that after doing all that work I could have just done my taxes myself pretty easily. But the worst part was that after I did all that work, the guy still did my taxes wrong!

Being a bit of a tax geek already, I caught the mistake before I mailed in my return. (Yes, back in the stone age when we used the US Postal service to mail our tax returns.) So when I confronted him about it he blamed his secretary for inputting my numbers incorrectly.

But here’s the thing. I didn’t hire a secretary to do my taxes. I hired a CPA. I sort of made the assumption that the guy signing the tax return would actually look at it somewhere along the line.

Anyway, I was so mad I wound up going to tax school etc., etc. Here I am with my own tax company. (Maybe I should thank the guy but I don’t even remember his name.)

Anyway, I don’t like organizers because I like to talk to people and get to understand their situation. I like to look at a person’s actual W2 or 1099 and not what the person wrote down on a piece of paper – it makes for fewer mistakes. I also think that if a person is paying me to do their taxes for them, my job is to make it easy. I had spent hours working on that 20 page organizer for that dude. That’s not easy!

But some people really like to use organizers. I always have some clients that ask for one. I like this one because it’s only 8 pages and it doesn’t ask you to copy your W2 information, just to list them and bring the documents to your appointment. Some pages you might not need – for example, page 7 is for rental income. Well, if you don’t have rentals, then you don’t need to fill out the page. I like that.

So while a tax organizer is no substitute for meeting with your tax preparer in person, if you like to get organized and make sure that you have all your ducks in a row before going to your appointment this is the one I recommend. It’s also helpful if you’re preparing your own tax return as well.

Here’s the link so you can download a copy of the organizer for yourself: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2011-RTS-Organizer.pdf or check our downloads tab at the top of the page.

And here’s a request. Would you please do me a favor and let me know what you think? Do you like organizers, don’t like them? Do you like this one, or don’t like it? What’s your opinion? I’m afraid that my bad experience years ago gives me a jaded view. But if I get a lot of positive feedback about it, I’ll start printing them out and using them with all my clients. (I’m not so stodgy that I can’t learn to change. I learn new tax laws every year, right?) Thanks for your help.

Court Ordered Exemptions and the IRS

January 10, 2012 by Jan Roberg · 274 Comments
Filed under: Divorce 
My Trusty Gavel

Photo by Brian Turner on flickr.com

I have to start with the disclaimer first: I’m an enrolled agent, I’m licensed by the Department of Treasury to represent persons before the IRS. I am not an attorney. According to the rules of my license, I am not allowed to give legal advice. But I get to talk about taxes until I’m blue in the face!

Why the disclaimer? Because if you’re a divorced parent, you may have to deal with a court order that outlines who can claim your child’s tax exemption. But the IRS has its own rules about who may claim a child’s exemption, and sometimes the courts and the IRS don’t agree.

Here are the IRS rules:

  • If your divorce decree went into effect after 1984 and before 2009, the noncustodial parent may be able to attach certain pages from the decree to the tax return to claim the exemption as long as the decree has no conditions (like paying child support) instead of requiring the custodial parent to sign a form 8332 (release of exemption).
  • If the divorce decree or separation agreement is after 2008, then the custodial parent must sign a form 8332 for the noncustodial parent to claim an exemption.

Can see how this can be tricky? If you don’t sign the 8332 form , and your ex doesn’t have the proper divorce decree documents, then your ex doesn’t get the exemption as far as the IRS is concerned. You’re going to win this one on the IRS battlefield. You may have to take it to the battlefield, but if you do then you will win.

But what does a person do when there’s a court order for her spouse to claim the exemption on the children, but the husband has no right to claim the children as far as the IRS rules are concerned? What do you do if a local judge says, “You’ve got to let your ex husband claim your children for taxes? I order you to sign the 8332 form.”

I spoke with a local attorney about what could happen to a person who followed the strict IRS rules and claimed the children’s exemptions for herself when the divorce decree allowed the spouse to claim – the answer I got was to have the person call her attorney. You see, the IRS rules are all about how the IRS will settle the issue. I’m an expert at how the IRS will settle the issue. But if you’re dealing with a court order, and if your ex decides to take you back to court to enforce the exemption rule, and you defy a court order to allow him to claim the exemption, then it’s quite possible for you to see the inside of a jail cell. I don’t want anybody reading this blog to wind up in prison. So even though you should win a tax case, you should really talk to your attorney before you go against your divorce or custody decree. Make sure that you’re within your rights in your jurisdiction.

If you are the custodial parent and you are required to let your ex claim your children, remember that the exemption only includes the exemption and the child tax credit. As the custodial parent, you keep the Head of Household designation, the Earned Income Tax Credit (if you qualify), and the Child Care Credit (if that’s relevant.) See my post about splitting a child’s exemption: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/11/split-exemption-claiming-one-child-on-two-tax-returns-%E2%80%94-the-legal-way/

If your ex claimed your child and shouldn’t have, read my post, “My Ex Claimed My Kid” for tips on how to fight back: http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/01/my-ex-claimed-my-kid-now-what-do-i-do/

Divorce is tough on everyone. It’s really tricky when you’ve got federal and state rules that don’t always mesh together either. The bottom line is that the IRS does not want to be involved in domestic disputes. If your divorce decree says that the Dad will pay child support and claim the exemption while Mom has the custody, then the IRS does not want to get involved in whether or not Dad paid that child support. That’s why the IRS rules are the way they are. Basically, they’re kicking that issue back to the local jurisdictions. If Dad wants Mom to sign the 8332, then his child support should be paid up to date. If Dad’s done everything right and Mom is still refusing to sign the 8332, then the IRS is saying it’s not their problem – Dad can go back to court and work it out from there-locally.

We used to have a saying when I was a kid: “Don’t make it a federal issue.” I don’t remember where we got it from, probably some TV show. I just remember we just always used to say it. But that’s kind of what the IRS is saying to divorced couples claiming their kids today, “Don’t make it a federal issue.”

If you’ve got a situation where the IRS rules and the court rules don’t line up, do consult your attorney about how your situation can, will, or should be handled.

_______________________________________________________________________

Note:  We try to answer all the questions that come to us but please be patient.  It’s our busy season right now.  We may not get to your post until the weekend.  When you make a post and use the capcha code, it won’t immediately show up.  You see, for every normal person like you that posts, there’s about three advertisements for things your mother wouldn’t approve of.  (We try to keep this a G rated website.)   We have to edit those out.  If you need an answer right away, here are some links that might help:

EIC questions of any kind:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-%E2%80%93–Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

How to find free tax preparers:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

How to find your local IRS office:  http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-Your-Local-IRS-Office-1

If you want to hire us, please call (314) 275-9160 or email us.  We do prepare returns for people all over the country (and a few foreign countries as well.)  We are sorry but we cannot prepare an EIC return for someone outside of the St. Louis area because of the due diligence requirements.

Can My Boyfriend Claim My Child by a Different Father on His Tax Return for the Earned Income Credit?

January 6, 2012 by Jan Roberg · 56 Comments
Filed under: Earned Income Credit 
Dad with his Kids on Father's Day

The IRS doesn't care how good a "Daddy" is. It's all about the strict tax law.

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Noooooooooooooo! Sorry about the bad joke. But really, no he can’t and here’s why:

First, and most importantly, it’s against the law. Seriously – claiming a child that you don’t have a right to claim on your tax return is income tax fraud and that’s a federal crime.

But how would he get caught? Good question. The most likely way he’d get caught is if someone else tried to claim your child on their tax return, like the child’s real father or a grandparent. Someone might have a problem with you or him and turn you in to the IRS. It’s one of the most common questions I see on the internet: “How do I turn someone in?” I’ve worked on a couple of cases where an older child has accidentally turned someone in by filing paperwork for school which somehow got into IRS records. You don’t want to take the risk.

But the most dangerous person as far as your boyfriend is concerned is you. Let’s say you decide to let your boyfriend claim your child and claim the EIC tax credit because it works out to be more money if he does it. You’re breaking the law too, but when push comes to shove you can break into tears and say he forced you etc., etc. It’s not against the law to not claim your child on your tax return, and proving that you “conspired” with him to commit tax fraud would be hard to do. So let’s say that the boyfriend dumps you and goes out and buys a nice engagement ring for his new girlfriend with that tax refund. I’m guessing that would make you hopping mad, right? Furious! You want to get even, don’t you? What better way to get even with that scumbag than to report him to the IRS. You see why he should be afraid? Very afraid!

So what could happen to my boyfriend if he did get caught? The maximum EIC for one child is $3050 ($5036 for two, and $5,666 for three.) First, he’d have to pay that back. Let’s say we’re just talking about one child, he’ll have to pay back $3050 right off the bat. Then he’d also have to refund the $1,000 child tax credit, so now we’re up to $4050. Now he’ll also have lost the head of household status which gave him a lower tax rate plus he’s lost the exemption so we’re looking at maybe $5,000 (or more if we’re talking about more children). Then the IRS will tack on fines, another 25% or $1250 for late payment fees, and most likely another 20% or $1,000 for under-reporter penalties so you’re looking at about $7250 in taxes owed. Ouch!

It’s also possible that he could be criminally prosecuted. Personally, I have never worked an EIC case that has gone on to the criminal division, but it does happen. What good is your boyfriend to you if he’s sitting in jail?

Don’t create problems for yourself by committing tax fraud. It seems like easy money and the temptation is great. You probably even know people who’ve done it and never had any problems. But if you want to feel safe and secure and get a good night’s sleep, file a correct and proper tax return.

You may also be interested in these posts:

My Ex Claimed My Kid: Now What Do I Do?
http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/01/my-ex-claimed-my-kid-now-what-do-i-do/

Eight Basic Rules to Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit
http://robergtaxsolutions.com/2011/12/eight-basic-rules-to-qualify-for-the-earned-income-tax-credit/

_______________________________________________________________________

Note:  We try to answer all the questions that come to us but please be patient.  It’s our busy season right now.  We may not get to your post until the weekend.  When you make a post and use the capcha code, it won’t immediately show up.  You see, for every normal person like you that posts, there’s about three advertisements for things your mother wouldn’t approve of.  (We try to keep this a G rated website.)   We have to edit those out.  If you need an answer right away, here are some links that might help:

EIC questions of any kind:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-%E2%80%93–Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.

How to find free tax preparers:  http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers

How to find your local IRS office:  http://www.irs.gov/uac/Contact-Your-Local-IRS-Office-1

If you want to hire us, please call (314) 275-9160 or email us.  We do prepare returns for people all over the country (and a few foreign countries as well.)  We are sorry but we cannot prepare an EIC return for someone outside of the St. Louis area because of the due diligence requirements.

Checklist of Tax Filing Documents

January 4, 2012 by Jan Roberg · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Do It Yourself 
Paperwork

Photo by kozumel on flickr.com

It’s that time of the year again when we get to file our tax returns. If you’re expecting a refund, you’re probably anxious to get all your paperwork together so that you can file. For those of you who expect to pay, you’re probably not too thrilled about it. Whether you’re hiring a professional or preparing your own return, make sure you have all of your paperwork together before you start.

Here’s a list of some of the more common documents associated with filing. Not every person will have every form, but this list should just help jog your memory so that you don’t forget something you need. The list:

  • W-2 wage and income statement – that’s your statement of wages, you’ll need a W-2 for each job you held. For lots of people, this is the only thing you need for filing your return. Make sure you have all of your W2s though; the most common problem is that Christmas season job part-time you had last year where you got paid in January of this year. Make sure you get all of your W2s before filing to avoid an IRS letter.
  • W-2G is for gambling income. The W2G is the second most frequently lost tax form (only the Social Security SSA-1099 beats it.) If you’ve received one of these statements, you need to include it on your tax return. If you don’t, you will get a letter from the IRS. Gambling losses, up to the amount of winnings, can be deducted on your Schedule A. The catch is, you have to report it. You can’t just leave it off if it’s deductible.
  • You need all of your 1099 forms – there are several types:
    • 1099-INT for interest – you get this from your bank. If you earned less than $10 in interest, you probably will not get one
    • 1099-DIV for dividends – you’ll get this from stocks you own. Sometimes they’ll come from a broker (like Edward Jones) and sometimes they’ll come straight from the stock issuing company (like Ameren).
    • 1099-B for sale of securities – and this is going to be different this year. The laws about reporting stock sales have changed so don’t be surprised if your report is looking a little different. Some companies (like Edward Jones) send out a combined form that has your 1099-INT, 1099-DIV and 1099-B all in one statement and it can be 12 or 20 pages long, or longer. Be sure to give all of the pages to your tax preparer – if you don’t, you’re cheating yourself out of your own money.
    • 1099-R for annuities, pensions and other retirement plan withdrawals—once again, even if your pension isn’t taxable, you need to report it on your tax return.
    • 1099-G is for government payments like a state tax refund or unemployment benefits. If you live in Missouri, the state doesn’t send you a 1099G for your refund anymore; you have to go online to get it. Here’s the website: https://sa.dor.mo.gov/tax/1099g/
    • 1099 MISC is for miscellaneous income, like commissions or non-employee compensation. If you have income shown in box 7, you’ll be required to file a Schedule C for self employment income.
    • SSA-1099 is for Social Security income – a note about the SSA 1099 form: it has to be the most frequently lost form on the planet. It’s usually the first one mailed out and I think it kind of gets lost in the shuffle. If you receive Social Security benefits, or are assisting someone who does, please make sure that this form is included with the other tax documents. For some people, it’s not taxable – but you need to include the figures from this form when preparing your taxes to determine if it is taxable or not. You get the 1099SSA form at about the same time that you get the information about what your benefits will be for the next year. You need the 1099SSA to do your taxes, not the future benefits statement.
  • 1098 tells how much interest you paid on your mortgage—important for itemizing deductions
  • 1098-E shows interest paid on a student loan—so you can claim a student loan interest deduction
  • 1098-T shows the amount of tuition paid at an educational institution–you need this to claim those college tax credits
  • If you purchased a new home this year, you’ll want to have a copy of your settlement statement—there are little things that might help with your deductions
  • K-1 forms – if you are a member of a partnership, joint venture, S corporation, estate or trust. Those forms aren’t required to be completed until March 15th (partnerships not until April 15th) so you may not be able to file your personal return before then. It’s a good idea to make your tax appointment once you have all of your other forms together. The K-1 information can be added at a later date.

And of course, you’ll want to have all the documents to support your deductions like real estate taxes, charitable contributions or deductible business expenses.

It’s a good idea to have a copy of last year’s return with you also.

Don’t forget to bring the social security cards for you and your children to your tax appointment.

One last thing—have a blank check so that you can use the routing and account numbers for direct depositing your refund.

Once you have everything together, you’re ready to go!

© 2009 Roberg Tax Solutions

111 Westport Plaza, Suite 600, St Louis, Missouri 63146 | Telephone 314-275-9160

Website Designed By Indigo Image
Info