Before I jump into discussing tax filing documents, I hope it’s okay that I spare you all of the “new year, new you” stuff.
If you’re anything like me, you’re being inundated with rehashed well-wishes and generic, happy-clappy “time to set some goals!!!” talk.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m here to get to work, as is my team here at Emelia Mensa CPA.
And now that the ball has dropped in NYC, and all of the moves that could have been made beforehand have been either A) made or B) left for later…
… it’s time to get moving.
Specifically, as it relates to taxes. And based on the glacial pace that we’re seeing with IRS response times, and the general level of disruption that tax season brings — it’s a really good idea for YOU to get your tax filing documents together just as soon as humanly possible.
And as always, if you need help, we’re here:
Today, though, I thought I’d give you some quick pointers…
Taxpayers, How to Get 2021 Tax Filing Documents in Order
“I’ve always been into paperwork.” – Natalie Cole
No, it isn’t almost time to file your personal taxes (that’s going to be Monday, April 18), and it certainly isn’t everyone’s favorite time of year.
That doesn’t mean you can’t start getting ready now and take away some of the pain, right?
True, the IRS usually doesn’t even start processing forms until at least a few weeks into the new year. But given all the processing delays the IRS has had recently, getting your tax return done sooner rather than later is a good idea – especially if you’re getting a refund.
What info do you need to file your taxes? (By the way, this is a very very general list. We always treat your situation as unique. Give us a buzz with questions.)
The tax filing document chase begins
So, for all of 2021 did you carefully collect all those records to do your taxes? Got’em all lined up by type, amount, date, height, and weight? No?
Don’t worry – most people don’t right now. In fact, many tax filing documents you need aren’t even available yet. Many will be soon, either online or arriving in your mailbox, often clearly marked “Tax Documents” – keep your eyes peeled.
Let’s see what tax filing documents you need.
Personal. Have on hand the Social Security number, dates of birth, and bank account information for you, your spouse, and your dependents. Also, dig up a copy of last year’s (or your most recent) tax returns.
Income. If you’re an employee, you should have a Form W-2 “Wage and Tax Statement,” which shows what you earned and had withheld in 2021 from your employer.
If you’re self-employed (i.e, an independent contractor), you should receive the new Form 1099-NEC, which details your income. The 1099-MISC details rents, prizes, and other income, generally of at least six hundred bucks.
You probably also have other 1099s detailing interest, dividends, and other types of payments to you. They have different letters after the 1099, such as DIV for dividend, INT for interest, and R for retirement-related income. There’s also the 1099-C, -K, -G, -Q, -SA, and on and on until it looks like a bad Scrabble hand. Check with us if you need help sorting them out.
If you got Social Security benefits in 2021, you’ll get a form for that, too: the SSA-1099.
Credits and such. The good folks at the IRS also send you letters saying how much you received in stimulus and advanced child tax credit payments and other pandemic-related help. (If you receive a phone call, text, or email claiming to be from the IRS on this or any other matter, contact us at once before replying. Scammers use these tactics…).
Now, most people don’t itemize many deductions for personal taxes since they raised the standard deduction a few years back, but you do want to get together receipts and other records for what you paid in mortgage interest, student loan interest, charitable donations, and medical expenses, among other goodies that can help your tax sitch.
See, there’s a special deduction of a few hundred bucks for giving to a qualified charity in 2021. And though few people rack up enough medical expenses to deduct, we can help you figure that out, so save those receipts – you never know…
If you’re self-employed and take business deductions on a federal Schedule C, your deduction paperwork is another kind of animal. Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to work with you.
Time on your hands
It’d be nice if all the tax filing documents just showed up in your mailbox and all you had to do was slide them into the right folder (electronic or paper) and get them to us – and then just sit back and wait for that fat refund.
Yeah, we agree it sure would be nice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen. So what can you do, aside from turning your house upside down?
For your investment accounts, for example, click on the websites for your tax filing documents. They’re probably sitting there waiting for you to download (and print, if necessary). If the docs aren’t there, contact their customer support to help. If you worked for somebody who didn’t send the form they should have, get in touch with them ASAP.
Remember: You’ve still got time before filing. The important thing is to start gathering the paperwork.
If worse comes to worst weeks from now, you can file an extension of time to file (but not to pay) your taxes. But why not start now to avoid scrambling?
If we can help with any of the above, just let us know. We’re here to take the stress out of this chore.
Stay safe out there.
Emelia Mensa EA, CPA