Tag Archives: IRS tax guidelines

Tax Preparation Time: Getting Ready to File Your 2019 Tax Returns

We are only a few weeks into 2020. You haven’t even had time to pack away the Christmas tree, yet. 

January seems too early to be thinking about anything other than just trying to get into the routine of work again. 

However, now is the time to get ready to file your 2019 tax returns. As those tax documents start showing up, pop them into your 2019 tax return file to send to your preparer. You haven’t seen anything yet, and still thinking it’s too soon? Well, the IRS has announced that they are going to open filing for individual 2019 tax returns on January 27, 2020!***  

Here are some ways you can prepare to file your 2019 tax returns now:

  1. Electric Organizers: Instead of filling out your organizer by hand, your tax preparer has probably sent you an electronic organizer. Do your best to fill it in. The organizer will give you a good idea of what documents you need to send to your tax preparer. Still not sure what to do? Use the notes space in the organizer to alert your tax preparer to any questions or concerns you have. If there’s not enough space, send a quick email or call your preparer to get your questions answered. 
  2. EDocuments: Remember the old days of bringing all your tax documents to your accountant in a thick Manila folder? Those went out with floppy discs and ripped-knee jeans. Now, you can scan all your documents then upload them using a secure link that your accountant has sent you. Make sure to keep a copy of your scanned documents for your file. It will save you time and make filing easier. Not sure which documents to send? Send your W2,1099, and 1098 forms to start. 
  3. Remember to send form 1095 – showing 2019 health insurance coverage: This tax form declares the type of health insurance coverage that you have, the period covered and the number of dependents that are covered. (If it is a health plan paid by your employer, it would have the company name and name of the employee.)
  4. Mileage expenses: If you used your vehicle for business and have recorded the miles used for work, submit the total mileage and your business mileage for the year. 
  5. Business use of the home: If you have a home office, with square footage exclusively used for your business, disclose the total amount of square feet in your home and the square footage of your home office. Be sure to disclose to your preparer expenses used to run your home such as utilities, insurance, security, and/or repairs and maintenance items. 
  6. Charitable contributions: Include an itemized schedule of all your donations to deductible charitable organizations. Any donation of $250+ must have a receipt from the receiving charity to be deductible. 
  7. Your 2018 Tax Return: If this is the first time you have worked with this tax preparer, bring or electronically send last year’s tax return. Your tax preparer will use it when completing this year’s tax return. 

Now is the time to prepare for your 2019 taxes. As you receive your tax documents, put them aside. Fill in your electronic organizer. When you’re ready, send your completed organizer and scanned documents to your tax preparer. Please remember to keep copies of your 2019 documents for your records.

A.K. Burton, PC, has experienced tax preparers who prepare and file personal and business tax returns. Our friendly and efficient tax preparation staff can file your taxes and represent you to the IRS, District or state. Call (301) 365-1974 for an appointment. ***See the IRS 2019 Tax Filing information here.

How Smart Tax Preparation Can Help You Get A Better Refund in 2018

Everyone is wondering: Now that the new tax laws have passed, will I be paying the IRS more or less in 2018?

My answer to that question is this: I have no Idea. It’s impossible to know or to even contemplate. Even with the new tax laws, everyone’s tax return situation is different. You may get more money back this year or you may pay even more money this year.

Yes, it’s complicated.

This year is done. But you can prepare for next year.

Of course, it all starts with your documentation and preparation. Here are Smart Ways Your Tax Preparation Can Improve Your Refund in 2018:

  1. Reconsider how you file: Do you always file jointly if you’re married? That is always the best way, right? Actually, no it isn’t. Don’t do the “auto-reply” on your filing. Married-filing-jointly is not always the best way. If you do married-filing-separately instead, you may get a larger return. AGI or Adjusted Gross Income determines if some deductions can be used for medical and certain other expenses. Filing separately may gives each spouse a lower AGI. So, don’t automatically file jointly. Do both jointly and separately if there are a fair number of medical expenses and COBRA payments.
  2. IRA Contributions: You can still take out an IRA contribution up until April 15thfor the previous You can then claim it on your return by filing early and then claiming the credit on your return. You can file early and use your tax refund to open the traditional IRA account. Just remember that it will reduce your income and you must be at least 50 years old. (Check the IRS guidelines on IRAs for detailed rules.)
  3. It’s all in the timing: There is an old saying from the famous golfer, Arnold Palmer that “Timing is everything, in life and golf.” It’s everything in tax filing with the IRS, too. If you pay your mortgage payment by December 31, you improve your chances of getting a larger refund. Also, schedule medical appointments by the end of the year and pay those bills before January 1, too. Keep in mind that your mortgage payments and medical expenses are still deductible expenses. They will certainly increase your refund.

These are just three basic but crucial ways to increase your refund in 2018 and beyond. However, it all starts now. Our best thought on this topic: See your licensed accountant or tax adviser. They can give you the best advice based on experience and knowledge of tax laws.

A.K. Burton, PC, which serves the Washington,D.C. and Bethesda, Md area, has experienced and licensed individual tax advisers who can help you with any questions you have on the new tax laws and how you should file. Contact us at (301) 365-1974 for more information or email us at info@cpa-maryland.com.