Gathering documents for tax season

In preparation to file individual federal, state, and local income tax returns, this is the season to gather documents.  Some of the documents need to be submitted with federal, local, and state tax returns, and will therefore be needed in the immediate future. Other documents should be retained by the taxpayer to substantiate figures used on tax returns, and in case of audit by a taxing authority. It is a best practice to take the time and effort to gather these documents during tax season, and retain them in case they are needed.

Taxpayers should gather forms that verify their income for the tax year. For employees, this is the Form W2 that employers are required to provide by the end of the January following the tax year. There are also a variety of forms that being with “1099” that document income, including 1099-MISC, 1099-NEC, 1099-R (retirement income), 1099-INT (interest income), 1099-G (unemployment income) and several others. Schedule K-1 is another income-related document showing business income. The sources of each kind of income should provide these documents to the taxpayer by the end of the January following the tax year. If any of these forms are not received by the taxpayer, it is best to contact the employer or other income provider and request the documents in plenty of time for tax preparation purposes. If an employer refuses to provide a Form W2, consult with a tax professional to determine the best course of action.

Taxpayers should also gather documents that verify deductions. For homeowners, Form 1098 should be retained to show mortgage interest paid and real estate taxes paid through escrow. The form is often provided by the mortgage company via the mail, as part of a monthly mortgage statement, or on the mortgage company’s online portal. There are also forms for those who pay for educational expenses. Form 1098-T should be retained to show education expenses paid to institutions, and Form 1098-E should be kept to document student loan interest paid. If these documents are not received in the mail, it is best to contact the institutions and request the forms during tax season. Any documents from government agencies showing taxes paid, or stimulus payment received, should also be retained. For all deductions, including medical expenses, charitable donations, educational expenses, and any others, receipts of payment should be retained. If receipts are missing, it is best to contact providers and request substantiation during tax season.

There are numerous other documents that apply to those with specific tax situations. For example, for ordained ministers who have opted out of self-employment tax, a signed Form 4361 from the Department of the Treasury should be permanently retained. For divorced parents, it may be necessary to retain a signed From 8332 if a child’s custodial parent is releasing their right to claim a child to the noncustodial parent taxpayer.

Contact Clergy Financial Resources to help you with the next steps.

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

For more information or if you need additional assistance, please use the contact information below.

Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Tel: (888) 421-0101 
Fax: (888) 876-5101


If you would like to learn more about our tax services designed for clergy or payroll, bookkeeping or HR designed for churches, please complete the request form to have an advisor contact you.

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