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Tax Preparation Guide and Tips


Are you getting the most out of creating your tax stats for your accountant? Here is a helpful checklist to ensure you won't miss any important paperwork that could result in tax savings!

PERSONAL DATA

q    Social Security Numbers (including spouse & children)

q Child Care Provider: Name, address & Tax ID or SS#

q Alimony Paid: SS#

q Last year’s Tax Return if verification needed for online tax preparation

EMPLOYMENT & INCOME DATA

q W-2 forms for Last filed tax year

q Unemployment Compensation: Form 1099-G

q Miscellaneous income including rent: Form 1099-Misc

q Partnership, S Corporation & Trust income: Schedule K-1

q Pensions & Annuities: Form 1099-R

q Social Security/RR1 Benefits: Form RRB-1099

q Alimony received

q Jury Duty pay

q Gambling and Lottery winnings

q Prizes & Awards

q Scholarships & Fellowships

q State & Local income tax refunds: Form 1099-G

 HOMEOWNER/INVESTMENT DATA

q Residential address(es) for last filed tax year

q Mortgage Interest

q Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S

q Second Mortgage Interest paid

q Real Estate Taxes paid

q Rent paid during last filed tax year

q Moving Expenses (if applicable)

 FINANCIAL ASSETS

q Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID

q Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV

q Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B

q Retirement plan distributed: Form 1099-R

 FINANCIAL LIABILITIES

q Auto Loans & Leases (account # & car value) if car used for business

q Student Loan Interest paid

q Early withdrawal penalties on CD’s & other time deposits

AUTOMOBILES

q Personal Property Tax information

q Hybrid Vehicle Tax deduction

 EXPENSES

q Charitable Contributions (need written statement from charity) for any amount

q Unreimbursed Expenses related to volunteer work

q Unreimbursed Expenses related to your job

q Investment Expenses

q Job-hunting Expenses

q Job Related Education Expenses

q Child Care Expenses / Adoption Expenses

q Medical Savings Account

q Alimony Paid

q Tax Return Preparation Expenses & Fees

 SELF-EMPLOYMENT DATA

q Business Income: Form 1099-MISC

q Partnership SE Income: Schedule K-1

q Business Related Expenses: Receipts, etc.

q Farm Related Expenses: Receipts, etc.

q Employment Taxes & other Business Taxes for last filed tax year

 MISCELLANEOUS TAX DOCUMENTS

q Federal, State & Local estimated income Tax paid in your last filed tax year

q Estimated tax vouchers, cancelled checks & other payment records

q IRA, Keogh & other retirement plan contributions. Identify whether for you or employees

q Records to document medical expenses

q Records to document casualty or theft loss

q Records for any other expenditures that are deductible

q Records for any other revenue or sales of property that may be taxable/reportable

 www.irs.com

 


The Top Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Home's Value


This is an article borrowed from RealtyTimes, written by Stacey Waxman. Stacey’s assessment on things to do to increase your home’s value is spot on. You can’t change your location, but you can change the things Stacey suggests. Read on.

If you’re like most people, your home is the biggest financial investment you’ll ever make. Even small improvements to your home can equal big returns later when you are ready to sell.

Here are a few easy and (mostly) inexpensive ways to increase your home’s value and improve its marketability, whether you are looking to sell next week, next month or next year:

1. Bathroom. Remodeling is a great way to increase your home’s value, but chances are you do not have the time or money to remodel every room of your home. If you are going to remodel only one room in your house, the outdated bathroom is a good choice. And if you can’t completely remodel your bathroom, there are still small changes you can make on a small budget. Minor updates like getting new light fixtures, stripping old wallpaper and replacing your shower curtain can dramatically improve your bathroom’s overall appeal.

2. Go for Green. Energy efficiency is one thing that will never go out of style. Younger buyers are increasingly attracted to homes that are environmentally friendly and all buyers are intrigued by the prospect of low home energy bills. There are many ways to increase your home’s energy efficiency, including programmable thermostats and water-saving faucets.

If you aren’t planning to move for a while, you may want to plant a few tall trees in your yard. The shade provided by trees can actually decrease your home’s cooling costs by as much as 40% and can also help improve your home’s overall curb appeal. If you are in more of a hurry to sell, you can instantly improve your home’s energy efficiency by swapping your old windows for heat-trapping windows.

3. Kitchen. Right after your bathroom, your kitchen is the next most important room you can update. It is particularly important to make sure your cabinets look clean and polished, since they can strongly impact a buyer’s perception of the entire room. If you have a larger budget, consider replacing old cabinets with new ones. And if you are working on a smaller budget, a fresh coat of paint on your cabinets can make a world of difference.

4. Landscape. You’ve probably heard it before, but the curb appeal of your home is hugely important. If new buyers notice that your yard has been ignored, they may assume there are other aspects of your home that have been neglected. This might cause them to lose confidence in the value of your home.

5. Lighten Up. Good lighting in your home can make a big difference. It is especially important to invest in bright lights for smaller rooms in your home; bright lighting can make small rooms look more spacious. If you want to avoid a higher energy bill, a sun tube (a hole in your ceiling that funnels in natural light) can be a great way to brighten up a room without adding to your home energy costs.


Taking the Mystery out of Credit


What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is the result of a mathematical equation that evaluates

many types of information that are on your credit report. Lenders with

whom you have applied will usually review your credit report and credit

score, along with other factors, such as your ability and likelihood to

repay debt. Credit scores are also often called “FICO scores” because most credit scores are produced

from software based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company (“FICO”). For more information

about FICO scores, visit www.myfico.com.

What Makes Up a Credit Score?

The FICO score generally ranges from 300 to 850,

and a higher score indicates a lower credit risk. FICO

scores are calculated from many sources of information

in your credit report, which is based on the importance of the following five categories for the

general population:

 

Payment History 35%

Were Payments Made on Time?

Amounts Owed on Accounts 30%

Is the balance owed close to the limit?

Length of Credit History 15%

How long have your accounts been open?

New Credit 10%

How many new accounts have been opened?

Types of Credit Used 10%

What is Not in Your Score?

• Your race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status

• Your salary, occupation, title, employment information, or residence address

• Any interest rate being charged on your credit accounts

• Any items such as family/child support, rental agreements, credit counseling participation

 

What Can Affect My Score?

• Your FICO score is a “snapshot” of your

credit history at a given point in time, and

can change based on the factors that make

up your credit score.

Late Payments - Pay your bills on time and if you have missed a payment, get current.

Credit History - When you pay off a debt or collection, or close an account, the credit reference remains

on your credit report for a minimum of seven years.

High Balances - Keep outstanding balances low on credit cards and other “revolving” accounts

New Credit - If you have been managing credit for a short time, don’t open a lot of new accounts.

Make sure the information in your credit report is correct. You are entitled to one free

credit report annually from the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and

Equifax. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain your free reports. You may also

purchase a copy of your credit score report through this website.

Review your credit report for accuracy (date opened, account balance, account limit,

last activity) and have incorrect or erroneous information updated.

Pay down high credit card and revolving account balances, but don’t close the

account. Don’t apply for credit that you don’t need – excessive credit report

“inquiries” can lower your score.

Avoid moving credit balances from one account to another just to take advantage of

low introductory interest rates. The combination of “inquiries” and “new accounts”

can negatively impact your score.

If possible, avoid “finance company” type credit accounts, including “90-day” and “12

months same-as-cash” accounts. Mortgage loans, installment loans and revolving

credit card accounts impact your score more favorably than finance company

accounts.

 

Your score can improve by managing your credit responsibly over time and following some basic tips:

Make sure the information in your credit report is correct . You are entitled to one free

credit report annually from the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and

Equifax. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain your free reports. You may also

purchase a copy of your credit score report through this website.

Review your credit report for accuracy (date opened, account balance, account limit,

last activity) and have incorrect or erroneous information updated.

Pay down high credit card and revolving account balances , but don’t close the

account. Don’t apply for credit that you don’t need – excessive credit report

“inquiries” can lower your score.

Avoid moving credit balances from one account to another just to take advantage of

low introductory interest rates. The combination of “inquiries” and “new accounts”

can negatively impact your score.

If possible, avoid “finance company” type credit accounts, including “90-day” and “12

months same-as-cash” accounts . Mortgage loans, installment loans and revolving

credit card accounts impact your score more favorably than finance company

accounts.

Information provided courtesy of:

Washington Metro Mortgage Marysville is a division of Metrocities Mortgage, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company exempt under the state of Washington’s Mortgage Broker Practices Act. Information is subject to change without notice.