As we move deeper into tax season, I am seeing a trend in my office. I am finding more and more clients are waiting on tax documents, and the missing information is making everyone wait. It’s certainly not my clients’ fault.
Actually, the problem lies in a change in the law that will allow brokers and investment companies to send out 1099s a couple weeks later than usual. This means you may not receive all of your required tax documents until mid-to-late February. So, if you are still waiting, you are not alone.
It is extremely important that tax returns are completed fully. The last thing you want is to file a return and later find a nice little gift in your mailbox causing you to amend your return, which could result in penalties and fees.
What to do in the meantime?
If you are still waiting, the best thing you can do is to organize all your information. You might even ask your preparer if they would like to start your return and fill in the missing data later. The data in question is usually dividend, interest, and capital gain information. This is easy information to input into a return and does not require a lot of time. Your preparer can finish all but the missing data of your return, and, after the info arrives, the return can completed with a few clicks of the mouse. This tactic will keep you from being put at the end of the line.
I am a big proponent of communication between taxpayer and preparer. Preparers get very busy and stressed during this time of the year. The best way not to add to that stress is to communicate. Ask your preparer what you can do to make your tax preparation easier. Whether it be better organized data or letting them complete the bulk of you return until your remaining tax documents arrive, this allows the preparer to operate more efficiently…..which is certainly in your favor!
If you are not sure whether you have received all of your documents, simply wait a couple more weeks. Maybe you are waiting on a refund and are ready for the cash. Be patient, for it is more important to file an accurate return. In the meantime, speak with your preparer and determine your best plan of action.