Your guide to tax preparation services

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Planning checklist

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4 months ahead: Get paperwork ready
  • Provide your tax professional all the necessary personal information, including Social Security number or tax ID number.
  • If you make alimony payments, be sure to include your ex-spouse's name and SSN.
  • Include information about other people on your return. Your pro will need birth dates, Social Security numbers and income amounts.
  • If you use a program to track your finances, print your transaction report for the tax year to make the preparation easier.
  • Ensure all your income reflects on your tax return. Failure to do this can result in penalties.
  • The forms of income to list on your return include investments, gambling, alimony, wages, real estate sale and retirement benefits.
  • Include your W-2 form(s) to show the income from your job(s).
2 months ahead: Provide necessary details
  • Present a proof of expenses to your tax preparer to take advantage of tax-deductible expenses, which can reduce your tax.
  • Some expenses to consider include education, mortgage interest, IRA contributions, union dues, and charitable donations.
  • A proof of losses is essential in tax preparation. This entails losses from theft, fire, natural disasters and other catastrophes.
1 month ahead of filing: Pay and submit
  • Bring blank checks with you to the tax preparer's office during the tax preparation appointment.
  • If you will be receiving a refund, you can request a direct deposit into your bank account using a check.

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