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Preparing to Prepare your Taxes

Jan 22, 2014

People often find the process of gathering the forms and documents necessary to prepare their income tax returns more burdensome than the actual act of filing their taxes. Whether you are planning to prepare your tax returns yourself or work with a professional tax preparer to file your 2013 taxes by April 15, the first step is collecting all the forms and documents you will need and gathering them in one place.

To help you get started, here is a list of the documents you’ll need to collect, including the right forms, personal identification information and records on your income:

  • The right tax form based on your individual situation
  • Your Social Security Number and the Social Security Number of your spouse and any dependents
  • Your W-2 form from your employer
  • Partnership, S-Corporation and trust income
  • Pensions and annuity income
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Rental income
  • Social Security benefits
  • State and local tax refunds
  • Earnings from the sale of your home or real estate
  • Investment income (interest and dividends, proceeds from broker transactions and retirement plan distributions)
  • Alimony received
  • Jury duty pay
  • Gambling, prizes and lottery winnings
  • Scholarships

You can deduct from taxable income any money you spent on health care, mortgage interest, charitable donations, tax preparation fees and certain other eligible expenses. You should collect records on the following:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Real estate taxes
  • Rent
  • IRA or other retirement plan contributions
  • Miscellaneous investment-related expenses (such as safe deposit box fees if used to store investment documents and computer depreciation if used to track assets)
  • Early investment withdrawal penalties
  • Medical/dental bills
  • Moving costs
  • Charitable donations and volunteer expenses
  • Auto loans and leases for vehicles used for business
  • Student loan interest
  • Alimony
  • Unreimbursed job-related expenses (travel, uniforms, union dues, education)
  • Job-hunting expenses
  • Child care expenses
  • Adoption expenses
  • Tax return preparation expenses

Once you have collected all these important forms and documents, you’ll be ready to get started preparing your taxes. To learn how you can quickly and securely prepare and file your taxes, visit www.irs.gov. According to the IRS, more than 80% of Americans file their taxes through IRS e-file. However, if you are crunched for time or overwhelmed by the process, PFCU has partnered with CapellaTax Network, which can provide members with access to an affordable network of Certified Public Accountants for the preparation of their 2013 tax returns in addition to 90 minutes of year-round advice from a trusted advisor. For more information on CapellaTax Network, visit www.pfcu.com.

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Please note that the amount of money contained in your investment accounts are considered non-deposit products and therefore, are not NCUA insured, not credit union guaranteed, may lose value, are not guaranteed by any government agency. Since they are not a deposit of the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, investment accounts do not qualify for Excess Share Insurance (ESI). Securities, Financial Planning and Insurance products are offered through LPL Financial, and its affiliates, Member FINRA, SIPC. LPL Financial and Philadelphia Federal Credit Union are independent entities.