What should we be doing now right now to get ready for a seamless tax season? January is the time for planning, gathering and organizing for a smooth tax season. We asked our friends at Davis & Langford CPA of Johns Creek to hold our hand as we start our planning. Attention in January is more important than ever given the changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) and the revised “postcard” sized 1040 forms. Here's their advice:
- Planning – Planning that results in tax savings has all been completed by December 31, 2018. Your final estimated tax payment was due January 15, 2019. Now we are planning the actual preparation process. Some of the questions you should be considering:
- Who will prepare the 2018 tax return? When large changes occur, many self-preparers choose to use a paid preparer. For 2018, it's a good time to consider doing this even if you have always prepared your return in the past. The law changed dramatically, and the forms changed, too. It will not be as simple as doing what you did last year.
- What changed from last year in your own situation? New job, started a business, retired, invested in more sophisticated investments like public limited partnerships – these changes may impact the timing of when you can file by when all information will be available.
- Prepare a checklist of information you used in 2017 to help you track what you need for 2018.
- Gathering – Most information returns must be reported to you and the IRS by January 31, 2019. You will need to be monitoring the incoming mail for Forms W-2, 1099, and 1098. Charities also send out annual statements during this time. Your stockbroker is not required to send their consolidated 1099 forms until mid-February. The broker forms are often revised so you should check last year’s forms to see if this happened.
Use a large envelope available where you sort and open your mail. Put the tax documents in right away. If you receive them electronically, then use a central folder on your computer to accumulate the documents.
- Organizing – If you have been diligent in planning and gathering, the organizing process will go quickly. At the end of January, you should compare the documentation received to the checklist you put together. Follow up on missing information and you are ready to begin preparing your return. Don't start the return until you are comfortable that you have all the required information. Piecemeal tax preparation is an invitation for an IRS notice or a high tax preparation bill
Meet the team.
Three things set us apart from other firms in North Fulton.
- We have unique experience to serve businesses and individuals. Our partners have real world business experience from startups to Fortune 500 and Big 4. Most local CPAs have always been practitioners and cannot appreciate the real world of business decision making.
- Our firm is large enough that you are not dependent upon one person to get your answer and small enough that every family or business is important, regardless of size. From the beginning, our mission has been to build lasting relationships with our clients.
- Finally, we approach our business as a community service. We solve people’s problems. We educate our clients. If a customer does not understand the result of their tax return or accounting, we take the time to explain. The partners believe our calling is to help others in our community. JohnsCreekCPA