Preparing for Tax Season 2021: What Your CPA Needs From You and What To Expect

Tax season is upon us, which means it’s time to start preparations for your 2021 tax return.

Whether this is your first or your fiftieth year filing taxes, preparing for tax season can be stressful and often frustrating as you try to gather the information needed to file your taxes (or even remember where you put all of that information!). But we’re here as your friendly neighborhood CPA to help make that process a little less stressful for you.

Here is a quick checklist of what we will need from you to file your taxes and what to expect when we handle your tax preparation services this year.  

The first thing you need to do is contact us to get a tax organizer.

Get a Tax Organizer From Us

A tax organizer is a form we use to collect the information needed to prepare your return. This not only helps us gather the basic details we’ll need to file your return, it also helps us see any big changes you have had this year that will affect your taxes.

When we give you the tax organizer, we’ll also provide a physical checklist of the documents you will need to gather for your return.

Sign and Return Your Engagement Letter

The engagement letter is essentially a contract that lays out the specific services we are providing for you, as well as the fees, terms of service, and responsibilities of each party. A signed engagement letter is needed before we can start your return.

Gather All Documents and Submit Them by March 25, 2022

Compile all of the documents listed on the checklist we gave you with the tax organizer, and submit them no later than three weeks before the tax filing deadline. The documents you need to provide will vary slightly depending on your situation, but may include:

  • Identification documents
  • A copy of your most recent tax return (if we didn’t file for you last year) 
  • Wage statements (such as W-2s or 1099s)
  • Additional income statements (for unemployment income, interest and dividend income, social security income, and so on)
  • Documents for any real estate holdings
  • Proof of losses, such as insurance claims
  • Receipts, invoices, or other proof of expenses 

If you are missing any of these documents, don’t worry. There are ways to obtain copies of them if you can’t find them. 

For wage statements, such as W-2s or 1099s, contact your employer. They are required by law to store copies of these forms for at least four years. You can also contact the IRS to request copies. However, it may take some time to receive them, so plan ahead and start this process sooner rather than later. 

For other documents, contact the business or organization you received the original documents from to ask if they can send you a copy.

What’s New for the 2021 Tax Season

For the 2021 tax season, there are a couple of additional pieces of information we will need from you: 

  • How much you received in your third stimulus check (received in April or May 2021)
  • How much your advanced child tax credit payments were (received monthly July-December)

We will need the exact dollar amounts to properly file your tax return. If you aren’t sure of the exact amounts, keep an eye on your mail. 

The IRS has announced that they will be sending out letters stating how much you received for the third stimulus check (Letter 6475) and the advanced child tax credits (Letter 6419). They have also warned that if the amount stated on your tax return is different than the amount they have on file, the processing of your return will be delayed.

What To Expect Next

After we receive your tax organizer, engagement letter, and all necessary documents, we will contact you within three weeks to give you a status update and ask any questions we may have.  

Once your return is complete, we will upload a copy of the return to our online portal. Then you will need to:

  • Sign Form 8879, authorizing us to e-file your return for you
  • Pay your invoice (we require full payment before your return will be filed)

When these items have been completed, we will e-file your return. Once your return is filed, you will get an email notification that it has been filed successfully.

What Additional Questions Do You Have About the 2021 Tax Season? 

Wood CPA is here to answer your questions and help you navigate the tax filing process. We provide tax planning and tax preparation services for individuals, corporations, partnerships, trusts, estates, and nonprofits, and we would love to work with you to file your taxes this year.

Contact us to start preparing for tax season today!