What Do I Need to Bring to My CPA or Accountant

What Do I Need to Bring to My CPA or Accountant

Despite helping people in my life with their taxes I use an Accountant.  There are a couple reasons why I use one:

  1. The Wife is Self Employed complicating our situation a bit
  2. I have self employment income which is growing
  3. After our meeting with our CPA I don’t feel the stress I did when I did my own taxes Pre-The Wife
  4. Lastly and most importantly, if something goes wrong I want to be able to call someone

Since my meeting is on Monday it is time to figure out what I need to bring when I meet my cpa to do my taxes.  I am going to provide a lot of detail because I hope to use this list in the future and it gives real insight into how I operate my financial life.

Meeting with Accountant What Do I Need?

This post is being written as I grab and put together my folder for my appointment.  Since there are two main parts to the tax return I am going to break the documents accordingly.  Each bullet point is either a 1099, 1098, W-2, spreadsheet, etc.

Income

Day Jobs

While I have one, The WIfe has two she works and is a fantastic and attentive mom.

Side Income

In 2010 I had two main side hustles going on.  In 2011 I will have a third that has already been more profitable than I could have ever imagined.

  • My Journey to Millions’ Income (Adsense, FlexOffers, and Private Ad Deals)
  • Evan’s small Law Practice

Investme+nts

I know the investments may seem overly-complicated, but I swear I can keep track of them since they each represent a different bucket.  While The Wife contributed to her Roth IRA,  I did not contribute to my Traditional IRA (only my 401(k)) this year so that is why there are no qualified accounts represented.

  • I have been using Sharebuilder for my Perpetual Income Machine
  • I used to use TradeKing when I was involved in the idea of covered calls (not against it now, just focused energy on something else)
  • My Annoying Prosper Account which I have been forced to abandon still is holding double digit notes.
  • The Wife owns a few Disney Shares (yes literally a few) so we get the 1099-Div for it and laugh about how small the check is
  • Much more significant than the Disney Shares The Wife has a mutual fund account that is very conservative that was set up for her by her Grandparents.  I have taken over the account since I am registered/licensed to do so, but I won’t touch it out of the safe safe safe funds they are in because that is what her Grandparents wanted

Banking

As explained early on this blog our cash flow is a little different than most married couples.  The Wife and I each keep a separate checking account and then funnel money into a joint checking account as well as a ton of different savings accounts.

  • My Sole Bank Account
  • The Wife’s Sole Bank Account
  • All of our cash savings is kept at ING.  I LOVE ING.
  • Our Mortgage company pays our property taxes for us so there is a correlating escrow account that I get interest on

Deductions

Non-Business Deductions

  • The Granddaddy of them all my Mortgage and Property Tax –  Just looking how much I paid in interest and taxes angers me!
  • While Student Loans are not always deductible, unfortunately I think mine still are (but we’ll find out if I made too much on Monday)
  • Charitable donations (church and every buddy’s bike or run event)

Business Deductions

  • Since The Wife is self employed and has a home office (as do I to a lesser extent) I give my accountant:
    • Our Electric Bills
    • Our Gas Bills
    • Our Internet Bill
    • My Auto Information – principal paid, interest paid and miles driven last year (I am not sure this is deductible, I’ll have to ask)
    • The Wife’s Leased Auto Information – Bill Paid and Miles Driven Last Year

Am I missing anything?

18 Responses to What Do I Need to Bring to My CPA or Accountant

  1. It seems you have everything covered! I would add a list of questions for the CPA. I would ask the CPA for a checklist of year-end transactions. My CPA sends out a letter with that checklist every Fall as a reminder and to market his services to his clients.

  2. You missed one thing. The kitchen sink! Ha! Just joking your CPA is going to love you for being so prepared. Just take all your records and you CPA will tell you if you are missing anything. No worries. I did my own taxes this year and that is the last time I am doing that again. Once your wifes self employment gets to a certain point or internet business takes off it will be a tax nightmare to do on your own. I will miss turbotax but it’s time to move on.

    • I put all the office deductions in a spreadsheet form, but not the others b/c I kind of want him to review ALL documents lol

  3. Very interesting! I always wonder how complex the side income projects make taxes!

    I have to say, I really like the name you coined for the dividend funds that you have!

    Perpetual Income Machine is an awesome name and concept.

    As my kids would say, “I want one too”!

    • You already got one! You have your lunch experiment which I have been keeping my eye on lol

      The side income does make the taxes a little bit more complicated, but its absolutely worth it

  4. I used to use an accountant, but I got tired of sending my return back due to the errors. My turbotax returnmight not be perfect, buy if there are mistakes, at leas they are mine. Finally, Money Magazine’s old contest between accountants showed that many accountants take the same data and come up with different answers.

    • “if there are mistakes, at leas they are mine.”

      Exactly one of the reasons why I use the accountant. I don’t want the mistakes to be mine, I want to be able to go back to someone, and say, “what’s happening here?”

  5. Deductions for student loans was the one that finally convinced me to hire an accountant. I’ve been fine doing my taxes on my own up until now, but when you’re self-employment and paying back student loans, it makes sense to spend a little bit more money to make sure you’re doing everything right — and getting back as much as you can, of course.

  6. Great list.

    I would add, in order to get the most out of your CPA/Accountant make sure the following is in place:

    -First, ask your accountant beforehand how he/she wants you to maintain your records.

    -Make sure you have all of your financial information and supporting documents (i.e. expense receipts, invoices, reports,etc) in order and accessible

    -Use accounting software or hire a competent bookkeeper.

    • I don’t think I am big enough for accounting software or a bookkeeper – I use just a plain old spreadsheet.

      What accounting software do you use?

      • You can download two, free opensource apps: turbocash or gnucash. Both of these programs are easy to use, and they will help you to get an accounting system up running- which will be important should your business grow.

  7. Is it weird or bad I like to do all my taxes myself online? It allows me to input many proforma numbers and see what happens, and also teaches me everything I need to know to have the most efficient returns.

    • I don’t think its bad or weird at all…to each their own! As long as you are happy and you are obviously competent enough so I say run with it

    • Not wierd!!! I think turbo tax is great along with the irs dot gov site for any other questions. (Of course I have my business accountant on hand if I need him). So far, I haven’t gotten any returns thrown back by the IRS (knock on wood), and my knowledge of the tax code allows me to maximize my legal deductions.

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