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Prepare For The Tax Preparer

ImageAnother tax topic I was thinking about recently is the perfect list of things to have ready for your tax preparation. You need to be organized to allow us to do our job well, and to ensure that you get the most out of the time invested. In fact, good organization can reduce not only your taxes, but your preparer bill, as well.

Try to organize your receipts and paperwork in advance. Have your receipts organized by category, along with any other relevant documents, including sales journals, bank statements, rent receipts,

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records showing the purchase and sale of investments, any documents relating to the sale of real estate or lawsuit settlements, and anything else with impact on your finances. If you aren't sure if a document has tax implications, bring it and ask.

If you need someone to organize your paperwork and keep track of things, that's bookkeeping is, and it can cost extra to have it done. If you can do your own, then you can probably save time and money. If you would rather someone else take care of it, then talk to your tax preparer well in advance. For example I do bookkeeping as well as tax preparation, and they are charged at different rates. But if you wait until tax time, it could be more expensive.

Review your last year's return. This will remind you of any unique tax situations you'll need to discuss. And be sure to bring your last year's return along with you.

Has anything new happened in the past year that needs to be considered? Make notes, and bring all relevant documentation along with you. For example, if you have gotten married, or separated, or taken some college courses during last year, etc.

If you track your finances on a program such as Quicken or Microsoft Money, having a disk of your program and files might assist in answering any last minute questions.

If you worked more than one job last year, you should have a T4 slip for each job. They are all important, even if it was a short job, like for two weeks somewhere. Be sure to bring along all T4 slips.

Also bring along:

  1. Copy of Statement CRA sends you upon receipt of your tax return which states RRSP limit and commentary of any carry forward amounts such as Education amounts, RRSP, capital losses or interest that they have paid you.

  2. All other tax slips issued for things such as interest income slips, capital gain income, canada savings bonds, RRSP receipts.

For rental income, bring the following :
  1. Mortgage interest for the year
  2. Property tax
  3. Water bill
  4. repair bills
  5. Advertisments
  6. Maintenance if an apartment/condo/townhouse
  7. utilities
  8. equipment
  9. office expenses 
If, after your initial session, you need to get back to your preparer with additional information, do so immediately, to avoid the stress of rushing things at the last minute.

Remember, even though the preparer bears some responsibility, you are ultimately responsible for your tax return. So the more prepared you are, the greater the chance the return preparation will go smoothly and accurately.

Pat

 
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