The following is a list of items that may affect your tax situation. If any of these affect your situation, please provide all related information to us. Should you have questions about special circumstances that might apply specifically to you, please do not hesitate to ask.
2020 CARES ACT and other new items
- Stimulus payments are a refundable 2020 income tax credit. The payments were based on 2019 or 2018 returns. Included with your 2020 return, we will calculate the amount of credits you are entitled to. If the full amount was not received, we will be able to claim the balance on the return. Therefore, it is important that you provide us with the amount(s) of the stimulus payment you have received.
- For 2020 only, taxpayers are able to deduct up to $600 of charitable contributions even if they take the standard deduction. Non-cash contributions are not eligible. Make sure you submit information regarding 2020 contributions to us.
- For 2020, the requirement to take minimum distributions from retirement accounts was eliminated. Taxpayers must resume taking required minimum distributions for the 2021 tax year.
- Any unemployment benefits received during 2020 will be subject to taxation.
- Coronavirus related distributions from IRA and other retirement accounts may be eligible to be reported over three tax years. Taxpayers must have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or experienced adverse financial consequences. Also, such distributions would be eligible to be re-contributed to the account within three years.
- Self-employed individuals may be eligible to defer the employer share of the Social Security portion of the self-employment tax. The deferred amount would be due in two installments due by December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2022.
To ensure accurate and timely processing and filing of your income tax returns, please make sure you have supplied the following information when you provide your tax data to us:
- Name and social security number as it appears on your social security card (include your spouse and dependents if applicable).
- Confirm your address, school district name, and occupation(s).
- Verify any estimated tax payments made including dates paid (if applicable).
- New York requires taxpayers to report dates of birth. (Include birth dates for all dependents)
- In order to e-file returns, we will need Driver License Information (for taxpayer and spouse). Provide us with a copy of both sides of your current license. Please ensure that all information on the copy can be read. Inform us if you do not have a valid driver’s license. If you provided us a copy last year, we only need a new copy if the license was renewed.
If any of the following apply to your situation, please be sure to let us know as they could affect your tax return:
- The federal taxation rules for alimony changed. The deduction for alimony paid and the inclusion in gross income of alimony received was eliminated for new divorce or separation agreements executed after December 31, 2018. Note that NYS did not adopt the Federal change and will continue with the prior alimony rules. If you received or paid maintenance (alimony) during the year, provide amounts.
- Please note that Form 1040 asks if you have received, sold, sent, exchanged or otherwise acquired any financial interest in virtual currency. This includes but is not limited to Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. You must provide us any related information to complete your return.
- If you made gifts in excess of $15,000, a gift tax return may be required.
- If you purchased your health insurance from a state exchange, you should receive Form 1095-A from the exchange. We will need this form to prepare your return and determine if you are eligible for a premium tax credit.
- Did you sell your personal residence or other real estate? If so, provide your original cost, total amount of improvements, original purchase date, date sold, and closing statement of contract of sale.
- Have you refinanced your personal home mortgage or taken out a home equity line of credit or other loan secured by real estate? Provide closing statement for any new loan(s).
- If you pay real estate taxes on any property that you own, provide us with the amounts and dates paid.
- Have you sold any investments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.? Provide cost basis (usually obtainable from your broker), date(s) of purchase, sale date and sale proceeds.
- Did you make any large asset purchases this year, such as a car or boat? The sales tax may be deductible. Provide documentation: bill of sale, invoice, etc.
- Did you receive or exercise any stock options during the year? Provide details.
- Did you have any earnings from self-employment during the year? If so, provide a schedule indicating revenue and expenses for the year.
- Did you have any gambling winnings and related losses during the year? Provide amounts won and lost. If you received any 1099 forms reporting gambling winnings, provide these as well.
- If you served in the military during the year, provide details of your service.
- Do you have a “Long-Term Care” insurance policy? Please supply the amount paid for this coverage during the year.
- Did you make, or do you intend to make, any IRA contributions for the tax year? If so, supply us with the amounts paid, or to be paid and the type of contribution (Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, etc.).
- Did you pay any student loan interest during the year? Provide the amount paid, usually reported on a 1099 form or other document.
- Did you make any contributions to a “529” College Savings Plan administered by the state you reside in? If so, provide the amount of the contribution, the state the plan is administered by, and on whose behalf the payment was made.
- Did you have to pay any significant medical expenses during the year? Provide a schedule by major category such as, doctors, dentists, insurance, prescriptions, eyeglasses, miles driven etc.
- Did you incur any dependent care expenses during the year? If so, provide the amount, provider’s name, address and identification number (either Social Security number or Federal ID number).
- If you used an automobile for business purposes, provide the make, model, total business miles driven, and total miles driven during the tax year.
- New York State provides a $200 refundable credit for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers. However, if you receive an exemption for real property taxes related to volunteer services, you are not eligible for the credit. As a result, the credit will likely benefit volunteers who do not own a home. Be sure to inform us if you are a volunteer firefighter or ambulance worker.
- Did you make any “out of state purchases” where New York State sales tax was not collected? If so, provide the amount of purchases subject to the tax.
- Foreign financial assets must be disclosed on Form 8938 and attached to your tax return. Taxpayers are subject to a penalty of $10,000 for failure to file. Inform us of any foreign financial assets. Note that this is in addition to other reporting requirements, such as the Treasury Department FBAR.
- Credits are available for certain purchases of residential energy efficient property. If you have made a purchase that you believe qualifies for the credit, let us know.
- If you paid union dues, be sure to provide us with the amount of union dues you paid during the year.
If you paid college tuition during the year, you may be entitled to a tax benefit. This includes money borrowed to pay tuition and fees. Please forward IRS Form 1098-T which you should receive from the educational institution.
Our software has the ability to import stock transactions. If you or your stockbroker can provide an electronic file detailing your stock transactions, in either an Excel or CSV format, e-mail it to us. We still want you to provide the related 1099 forms, so we can verify the amounts.
In order to deduct charitable contributions of less than $250, the contribution must be substantiated by proof of payment (cancelled check, debit card or credit card information) or a receipt or other written communication from the organization to which the contribution was made. The rules for contributions of $250 or more require that you have written acknowledgement from the organization. Provide us with a detailed listing of your charitable contributions in order to ensure the maximum deduction.