Cook Wealth Management Group

Make Tax Filing Easier on Yourself and Your Accountant

Income tax filingWhether you’re having an accountant prepare your returns or preparing them yourself, here are a few suggestions to make tax filing a little easier this year.

  • Gather your records as soon as possible after December 31st – receipts, canceled checks, and other supporting documents may be easier to find if you don’t wait until April.
  • Tax documents (W-2’s, 1099’s) should begin to arrive after January 31st; put them aside in a tax file for safe keeping until you have received them all.
  • If you’re having an accountant prepare your returns, take the time to look over any organizer, checklist, or questionnaire they send you.  Providing all the information your accountant initially requests may lessen the expense of additional billable time spent to solicit information from you later.
  • Review Publication 17 on the IRS website – – for all you need to know about filing your return.
  • As soon as you have gathered all your tax documents, send your information to your tax preparer (or make an appointment to review the documents together.) Preparers have about 8 weeks to prepare numerous returns and often they complete returns on a first come, first serve basis. Though you may request an extension to file your returns, remember that the balance due on your individual return is still due by April 15th. There is no extension of time to pay the balance. You will be charged interest and possibly penalties.
  • Consider e-filing your returns. In 2011, the IRS will require most tax preparers to file returns electronically, which reduces math errors and the wait time for your refund. Opting for direct deposit also accelerates the delivery of your refund and eliminates the possibility of checks getting lost in the mail.
  • Don’t panic. The IRS is available to help and can be reached at 1-800-829-1040. (And if The Cook Group is preparing your returns, leave the work to us.)