Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
– Henry David Thoreau

Well, now the holidays are truly behind us, and this is the week where reality sets in for everybody.

No more family (which might be a relief?), no more parties, no more presents. Just…daily life. And, in my opinion, this week is actually crucial to how the rest of your year goes. Why?

Because intentions and actions matter. No, I don’t subscribe to a mystical ‘universal law of attraction’–but I DO believe that how we act out what we intend sets a sub-conscious belief system in place which can have an impact for months at a time.

In other words–do what you *intend* to do this week, and it’ll be much easier to carry that forward into more of 2010.

At least, that’s been my experience.

What about you? Do you find the beginning of the year to be full of opportunity? Or is it full of discouragement? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

Well, for my staff and me…it’s certainly full of preparation! This is one of our most intense years of groundwork for tax season, simply because the tax code is getting even MORE complex. And, truly–it seems as if I write that *every* year…which isn’t a great sign for families who are wanting to do their own taxes!

Well, for those of you who want our help (and it’s the vast majority of our email contacts), I’ve got a special incentive for you at the end of this email…AND, I’ve got a handy little list of what you’ll need to bring in. It’s mostly complete, but there may be certain situations where we’ll need other documentation to get you even more deductions…but, of course, we’ll let you know about that should the situation arise!

Let me know your thoughts…and, of course, if you’d like to talk this over with us we DO have a couple slots left! Call or email soon, though!

“Real World” Personal Strategy
A Mostly-Complete List Of What You’ll Need At Tax Time
After putting together this list and looking at it, I’m aware that it can seem quite overwhelming. However–have no fear! This is not intended to drown you in paperwork, but instead to give you a handy guide to ensuring that we’re able to help you keep everything you deserve to keep under our tax code.

As you’re getting your information together, this will help you guide your process. And, even if for some strange reason you won’t be using our cost-effective services this year, feel free to use this list as a handy guide…

Personal Data
Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number

Employment & Income Data
W-2 forms for this year
Tax refunds and unemployment compensation: Form 1099-G
Miscellaneous income including rent: Form 1099-MISC
Partnership and trust income
Pensions and annuities
Alimony received
Jury duty pay
Gambling and lottery winnings
Prizes and awards
Scholarships and fellowships
State and local income tax refunds
Unemployment compensation

Homeowner/Renter Data
Residential address(es) for this year
Mortgage interest: Form 1098
Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S
Second mortgage interest paid
Real estate taxes paid
Rent paid during tax year
Moving expenses

Financial Assets
Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID
Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV
Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B
Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R
Capital gains or losses

Financial Liabilities
Auto loans and leases (account numbers and car value) if vehicle used for business
Student loan interest paid
Early withdrawal penalties on CDs and other fixed time deposits

Personal property tax information
Department of Motor Vehicles fees

Gifts to charity (receipts for any single donations of $250 or more)
Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work
Unreimbursed expenses related to your job (travel expenses, entertainment, uniforms, union dues, subscriptions)
Investment expenses
Job-hunting expenses
Education expenses (tuition and fees)
Child care expenses
Medical Savings Accounts
Adoption expenses
Alimony paid
Tax return preparation expenses and fees

Self-Employment Data
Estimated tax vouchers for the current year
Self-employment tax
Self-employment SEP plans
Self-employed health insurance
K-1s on all partnerships
Receipts or documentation for business-related expenses
Farm income

Deduction Documents
State and local income taxes
IRA, Keogh and other retirement plan contributions
Medical expenses
Casualty or theft losses
Other miscellaneous deductions

We hope this helps, and we look forward to seeing you this year!