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What is needed to file a tax return?

Filing Your Taxes
Filing Your Taxes

If it is your job to prepare taxes for you clients, you want to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. This will keep you from having any unnecessary delays and from the hassle of having to file for an extension. It also helps you to save both time and money, something that all of us can appreciate. Here is a list of some of the items that your clients will need to bring with them so that the tax filing will go as smoothly as possible. Using this information, along with the right type of accountant equipment can make for a trouble free tax season.

First of all, it is important for you to discuss this list with your clients long before the time to file taxes arrives. They will need to compile information and save receipts throughout the year and the sooner they are on-board with the program, the more likely it is going to be that the filing will go off without a hitch. According to the IRS, there were over 129 million tax returns processed and only 43 million were self prepared, so it promises to be a busy season (Source:,-2013). Here is what they will need to bring with them to file.

Personal Items - The first set of items on the list will be their personal information, which will allow their taxes to be recognized as legitimate by the IRS. Common forms of personal information are social security numbers (including those of their dependents) and tax id numbers for child care providers. Do not assume that they will have this information, ask for it in advance.

Income Data - All of their income from the previous year must be documented properly for their taxes to be filed. This would include everything from W-2 forms from their employer to alimony, pensions and trust income. If they won any cash prizes during the year or if they had lottery winnings, these will also need to be included. In essence, any money that moved through their hands in the past year will need to be documented.

Liabilities - In order to save money on their taxes, your clients will need to provide information on their financial assets and liabilities. These items include interest income, unemployment, dividend income, retirement plan distributions and broker transaction proceeds. If they had a student loan, they can include the interest that was paid

Self Employment - If your client is self employed, either full time or part time, they will need to bring income and expenses documentation for their business. This information should be as detailed as possible so nothing is missed.

Rental or Mortgage - If they have a mortgage or if they own rental properties, expenses, interest and income associated with those properties will need to be included.

This is only a partial list of the items that they may need. It is always best if they include the information that they have, even if it is not going to be used. Erring on the side of caution can also help you and your clients to avoid problems that could take place during an audit. With advance preparation and help from the filer, you will be able to file an accurate return for them.

Corey Rogan is an expert in the IT industry who grew up in Southern California. He has gathered sources from to write this article. Feel free to connect with him over at Google+.

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