The third quarter of 2017 is officially behind us, and we are moving into the final portion of our year. The NFL is in full swing, school is back, and life begins to barrel at all of us in new ways. Believe it or not, the holidays are around the corner!
(In fact, there have even been Halloween decorations popping up around Birmingham and in stores here and there — which, I must say, seems a little early — but it does demonstrate my point.)
So, before this season gets REALLY busy, it’s a great time for us to take a look at where things are for your taxes over this year.
I’ve put together a simple primer, similar to what I’ve posted in years past, on what you should be pulling together by the end of the year. But the BEST way to be prepared is to have a customized conversation now about installing a proactive strategy to minimize your specific tax burden.
January through April may be “tax season”, but September through early-November is “tax planning season” — and to that end, I suggest you call us ((205) 715-4488) or send me an email and set up a time for a tax planning session.
And this is a great start…
Randall Hancock’s 2017 Tax Planning Guide
“The measure of life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” -Peter Marshall
Believe it or not, now is the time to start making sure that you’ll be ready for a few months from now, when tax time is upon us.
Generally speaking, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return. Individual taxpayers should usually keep the following records and supporting items on their tax returns for at least three years:
• Bills, Credit card and other receipts
• Invoices, Mileage logs
• Canceled, imaged or substitute checks or any other proof of payment
• Any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return.
You should normally keep records relating to property until at least three years after you sell or otherwise dispose of the property. Examples include…
• A home purchase or improvement
• Stocks and other investments
• IRA transactions
• Rental property records
Health insurance verification
The IRS will be sending out “information returns” (form 1095) before the end of January (presumably) that should cover your documentation … but as with everything in dealing with the IRS, it’s a good idea to be armed with your own documentation as well, which would include insurance cards, EOB forms, statements from your insurer, etc.
If you are a small business owner, you must keep all your employment tax records for at least four years after the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.
Examples of other important documents business owners should keep include:
• Gross receipts: Cash register tapes, bank deposit slips, receipt books, invoices, credit card charge slips and Forms 1099-MISC
• Proof of purchases: Canceled checks, cash register tape receipts, credit card sales slips and invoices
• Expense documents: Canceled checks, cash register tapes, account statements, credit card sales slips, invoices and petty cash slips for small cash payments
• Documents to verify your assets: Purchase and sales invoices, real estate closing statements and canceled checks
Here’s the best part of all of this:
By pulling together this information NOW, we can really work our “magic” and ensure that we aren’t simply playing catch-up for you after the fact.
That’s what tax planning is all about, and we very well might be able to pro-actively affect your 2017 tax bill during this final quarter of the year.
So give us a call this week, and let’s plan out the rest of 2017 and beyond.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve you, and for your referrals.
Randall M. Hancock CPA, PC