With tax season officially started, you’re likely too busy to personally check in with every client to make sure they are prepared for their tax appointment. That’s why we’ve put together a tax return checklist for clients. Share this list via bulk email or through a client portal for a quick way to remind your clients how to prepare for tax season. By the time they meet with you in person or through a virtual meeting, their appointment will go as smoothly as possible.
Tax Return Checklist
In order to prepare for a tax appointment with a tax preparer, taxpayers should be sure to gather all of the following information and documents that apply to their tax situation.
- Social Security numbers for those filing the return and dependents
- Date of birth for those filing the return and dependents
- Bank account information (for direct deposit)
- W2 forms
- 1099 forms - Could include 1099-MISC, 1099-B, 1099-C, 1099-G, 1099-R, 1099-S, 1099-SA, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-LTC, and more
- Alimony received
- Business income
- Rental property income
Deductions and Credits
- Retirement account contributions
- Charitable contributions
- Form 1098 (Mortgage Interest Statement)
- Medical expenses
- Form 1098-T and Form 1098-E for education expenses such as tuition paid and student loan information
- Child care expenses (Must include name, address, and tax ID of child care provider)
- Adoption costs
- Home office information - The square footage of the office, the date the space started being used for a home office, and utility expenses are needed to claim on tax return
- Estimated tax payments throughout the year for self-employed taxpayers
- Personal property taxes
- Real estate taxes
If you prepare taxes for small business clients check out:
How Your Small Business Clients Should Prepare for Tax Season 2021.
How to Prepare for Tax Season
Aside from sharing the tax return checklist with your clients, there are a few other tips you may want to share with them around how to prepare for tax season. Here are 4 best practices we recommend for clients:
Organize necessary personal information and documents
See tax return checklist for details.
Set up tax appointment as early as possible
Don’t wait until the last minute to make a tax appointment or your tax refund may be delayed. The busier the IRS gets processing returns, the longer you’ll have to wait for your refund money.
Be prepared with questions
Come to your tax appointment prepared with the questions you have for your tax preparer. Your appointment is a better time for them to answer those questions rather than having to call or email you later.
Be responsive and provide answers to your tax preparer’s questions as quickly as possible to keep your tax work moving forward.
Read more about client management
Interested in more tips about client management?
Check out Client Management Strategies for Accounting Firms, an ebook by Jason M. Blumer, CPA, and CEO of Thriveal and Blumer CPAs. Blumer discusses the importance of having a client management strategy and shares client management strategies he has seen success with in his businesses.