Same as Last Year Doesn’t Work

Robert Flach has a post today where he notes the information that’s needed to prepare a tax return. I don’t have much to add to his excellent list (though I do need to see your W-2Gs, too).

If you’re one of our clients you should have received your Tax Organizer (which asks for all the information Robert asked for) in the web portal and your Engagement Letter and Privacy Policy via email. We will need you to sign and return your Engagement Letter prior to our working on your return.

If you need to file an FBAR (Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) we will need you to complete Form 114a prior to the filing of the FBAR.

Finally, I wanted to emphasize one thing that Robert wrote.

When I say “I only need numbers” I mean specific numbers for deductions you are claiming. “Claim the maximum” or “Whatever I am allowed” or “Same as last year” is not appropriate. The maximum is what you actually paid – and you are allowed what you actually paid! I need you to tell me “$1023.50” or “$20.00 per week for 50 weeks” or “4638 miles”!

There is no such thing as a maximum—tax professionals need to know what you did. You need to provide the data. So when you say, “Do what I did for last year” and I respond “I can’t do that,” please understand.

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2 Responses to “Same as Last Year Doesn’t Work”

  1. RF-

    Thanks for the reference. Glad you liked my list.

    I did change the post to include a reference to W-2Gs and gambling logs.

    The other RF

  2. Peter Pappas says:

    Actually, you can do that. Estimates are permitted, but you must disclose them as estimates.

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