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2023 Tax Bliss: Maximize Returns with LTAS Stress-Free Guide, Bonus Checklist, & Top Deductions

Updated: Dec 8, 2023



As we gear up for the upcoming tax season for the year 2023, our team is dedicated to providing you with a comprehensive guide to seamless tax planning. Our mission is simple: to help you maximize returns while minimizing stress. To achieve this, we've compiled a detailed Tax Preparation Checklist that will ensure a smooth and accurate tax preparation process.


The Client Organizer: Your Foundation for Success

Clients, get ready to receive our updated Client Organizer, a vital document that sets the stage for a stress-free tax season. It's crucial to complete the questionnaire thoroughly for the first time. Rest assured, your information will be securely stored for future tax seasons, allowing for easy revisions or additions as needed. Take a moment to fill out the Client Questionnaire, knowing that your data will be saved for upcoming years.


For your convenience, utilize our Secure Client Portal for document submission. If you favor submiting your documents in person, have any inquiries, or undergo changes in your financial situation, schedule your annual consultation through our website.


New Clients, We Welcome You!

To our new clients, we extend a warm welcome. Kindly provide your income tax returns for the last two years when submitting information for the first time. This ensures we have a comprehensive understanding of your financial history, enabling us to provide the best possible service.


Tax Preparation Checklist: What You Need to Know


Personal Information:

  • Full legal name, including any changes during the tax year

  • Date of birth for all individuals on the tax return

  • Contact information: address, phone number, and email

  • Social Security and/or tax ID numbers

Remember to have tax identification numbers ready for yourself, your spouse, and any dependents.

  • IP PIN

Keep accessible if you, your spouse, or a dependent received an identity protection PIN from the IRS.

  • Bank account number and routing number

Provide for a seamless process if you choose direct deposit or payment for your tax bill.


Income Documentation:

  • W-2 forms for all employers

  • W-2G Forms for certain gambling winnings

  • 1099-NEC for freelance or self-employment income

  • 1099-MISC for other income $600 plus

  • 1099-INT and 1099-DIV for interest and dividend income

  • 1099-G for any government payments or refunds

  • 1099-K Payment Card and Third-Party Network Transactions

  • K-1 forms for income from partnerships, S corporations, or trusts

  • Rental income and expenses records

  • Alimony received or paid information

For divorce agreements dated January 1, 2019, or later, alimony payments need not be reported on federal income tax returns.


Investment and Retirement:

  • 1099-B for brokerage transactions and capital gains/losses

  • 1099-R for pension, annuity, and IRA distributions

  • Records of contributions to IRAs or other retirement accounts

  • Documentation of stock option exercises or employee stock purchase plans

Business and Self-Employment (Freelancing):

  • Business income and expenses records

  • Business-related travel, entertainment, and meal expenses

  • Receipts for business-related purchases and deductions

  • Vehicle information for business use (mileage logs, fuel receipts)

  • Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet – If you use accounting software like QuickBooks

  • Spreadsheet Income and Expenses

Deductions

Deductions help reduce your taxable income, leading to a lower tax bill. Proper documentation is key. You don't necessarily have to itemize to benefit from certain deductions.


  • Retirement account contributions

Deduct contributions to a traditional IRA or a self-employed retirement account, adhering to contribution limits and rules.

  • Educational expenses

Students can claim a deduction for tuition, fees, and interest paid on student loans.

  • Medical bills

Medical costs may yield tax savings if they exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income for most taxpayers.

  • Property taxes and mortgage interest

Reflecting on Form 1098 from your lender, include the amount escrowed for property taxes and home loan interest.

  • Charitable donations

Retain receipts for charitable donations to ensure tax benefits.

  • Classroom expenses

Educators can deduct up to $300 spent on classroom supplies ($600 if both spouses are educators filing jointly).

  • State and local taxes

Deduct state and local income tax or sales taxes (up to $10,000, including property taxes).

  • Form 1095-A, 1095-B, or 1095-C for health insurance coverage

  • Records of any Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions

Business, Self-Employment, Freelancer Deductions

Deductions, or tax write-offs, reduce taxable income.


Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Tax Deductions

  • Deduct all business costs for a dedicated building or a proportion of household bills if you work from home.

  • IRS provides a simplified option for expensing home office costs.

Rent and Mortgage Expenses

  • Rent/leasing costs

  • Mortgage interest

  • Property tax, up to a certain amount

Utility Bills Expenses

Deduct a percentage of mobile phone bills for business use.


Office Expenses and Tax Deductions

Additional deductions on money spent for your business office.


Office Furniture Expenses

  • Desks, tables, and other work surfaces

  • Shelves, filing cabinets, and storage units

  • Office chairs

  • Other office furniture

Office Computer Expenses

  • Desktop computers

  • Laptop computers

  • Tablets

  • Monitors

  • Mice and keyboards

  • Printers

Office Software Expenses

  • Purchase of software applications and programs

  • Periodic subscription payments

  • Website hosting costs

Office Equipment Expenses

  • Specialized equipment not covered elsewhere

Office Supplies and Sundries Expenses

  • Packaging materials

  • Mailing and courier costs

  • Copier paper

  • Toner cartridges

  • Miscellaneous stationery

Office Maintenance and Repairs Expenses

  • Property repairs on your office

  • Cleaning

  • Repairing equipment

  • Replacing lightbulbs and other consumables

  • Other repairs and maintenance

Employee Expenses and Tax Deductions

For employers, deduct costs such as salaries, medical premiums, benefits, and retirement contributions.

  • Salaries paid to employees

  • Medical premiums paid for employees like health or dental insurance

  • Benefits paid to employees like bonuses

  • Percentages of payroll or self-employment tax

  • Retirement contributions

Freelance, Contractor, and Professional Tax Deductions

Claim costs for professional services and payments to freelancers or contractors.


Accountancy Expenses

  • Professional accounting fees

  • Tax preparation fees

  • Bookkeeping fees

  • Payroll preparation fees

  • Retainers

Legal Expenses

  • Legal fees

  • Retainers

Freelance and Contractor Expenses

  • Contractor fees

  • Tradesman fees

  • Freelance work (e.g., graphic design, photography, writing)

Car and Vehicle Tax Deductions

Deduct costs if you use a vehicle for business.

  • Gasoline and fuel costs

  • Vehicle insurance costs

  • Vehicle repair and maintenance costs

  • Interest on a vehicle loan

  • Registration fees

  • Property tax for the vehicle

  • Lease and rental payments

Advertising and Marketing Tax Deductions

Deduct money spent on promoting your business.

  • Marketing services and agencies

  • Online advertising (Google AdWords, social media)

  • Media advertising (radio, TV)

  • Offline advertising (billboards, newspaper ads)

  • Sponsorships

  • Promotional design services

Travel and Accommodation Tax Deductions

Deduct costs if you travel or stay away from home for business.

  • Airfares

  • Train fares

  • Coach fares

  • Hotel accommodation

  • Other travel costs

  • Meals when traveling for business (limited to 50% of the cost)

Loan Interest and Bad Debt Tax Deductions

Deduct interest on loans as a business expense.

  • Automotive loan interest

  • Building loan interest

  • Equipment loan interest

  • Business credit card interest

  • Interest on other loans

  • Bad debts due to unpaid invoices

Education and Training Tax Deductions

Deduct costs for training yourself or your staff.

  • Further classroom education

  • Online and virtual courses

  • One-to-one and one-to-many tutorials

  • Skills and vocational training

  • Other education and training costs

Payment and Bank Fee Tax Deductions

Deduct bank fees and charges for business services.

  • Ongoing and one-off bank fees

  • Incoming and outgoing wire transfer fees

  • Payment processing costs for accepting cards

Insurance Tax Deductions

Deduct insurance premiums incurred by your business.

  • Public liability insurance premiums

  • Professional identity insurance premiums

  • Specialist insurance premiums


Qualified Business Income Tax Deductions

Potential to claim up to 20% of profits within specific limits. Consult us to discuss this complex area.


Miscellaneous Tax Deductions

Depending on your business type, other areas may have deductible expenses.

  • The cost to attend conferences, seminars, or trade shows

  • Membership fees for professional associations or publications

  • Specialist tools needed for your work

  • Business licenses and fees

  • Trademarks and intellectual property costs

Credits

Tax credits provide dollar-for-dollar cuts in any tax you owe.

  • Child Tax Credit (CTC)

  • Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCC)

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOC)

  • Lifetime Learning Credit

  • Student Loan Interest Deduction

  • Adoption Credit

  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

  • Charitable Donations Deduction

  • Medical Expenses Deduction

  • Deduction for State and Local Taxes

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction

  • Gambling Loss Deduction

  • IRA Contributions Deduction

  • 401(k) Contributions Deduction

  • Saver’s Credit

  • Health Savings Account Contributions Deduction

  • Self-Employment Expenses Deduction

  • Home Office Deduction

  • Educator Expenses Deduction

  • Solar Tax Credit

  • Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

Other Documents:

  • Record of estimated tax payments (Federal and State)

  • Any tax notices or correspondence from IRS or state tax agencies

Additional Information:

  • Details on significant life events (marriage, divorce, birth, adoption)

  • Changes in dependents or filing status

Conclusion

This comprehensive Tax Preparation Checklist serves as your roadmap to a seamless and stress-free tax season. At LTAS, we are committed to ensuring that your tax planning experience is not only efficient but also rewarding. Should you have any questions or require assistance, our team is here for you. Reach out to us, and let's make this tax season a success together.


Thank you for choosing Litherland Tax & Accounting Services. Here's to maximizing returns and minimizing stress!





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