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tax strategies for high income earners

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By Charles Green, eHow Contributor

You can help your tax preparer by bringing the required information with you.

If you plan to have an accountant or tax preparing professional handle your taxes this year, you need to bring with you pertinent documentation to expedite the filing process. Omit one or more documents and you could delay the completion of your tax return, perhaps slowing down a refund or requiring your preparer to amend your return.

Personal Information
You can confirm who you are to the tax preparer by showing your I.D.

You may need to show personal identification to your accountant, such as a copy of your driver’s license. Be prepared to supply information about everyone you can claim on your tax return. You need each person’s full name, date of birth and Social Security number.

Tax Filings
Bring copies of last year’s tax return when visiting your tax preparer.

Your tax preparer will want to see copies of your most recent federal and state tax returns. You may need to bring with you several years of returns if you have carry-forward items you have claimed as deductions over multiple years.

Earnings Information
Bring various tax forms with you to help expedite the completion of your return.

All W-2 forms reflecting your wages for the tax year, 1099 forms showing other forms of income with interest received and 1098 forms for deducting interest payments should be included in the paperwork for your tax filing. Form 1099-SSA is for Social Security payments, 1099-MISC is for freelance earnings and 1099-DIV is for dividends. If you are missing one or more forms, contact your employer, bank or other financial institution for a copy.

Gather Receipts
Gather pertinent receipts and bring them with you.

If you itemize your taxes, you need copies of receipts for deductible expenses. This means that your tax preparer will be filling out Schedule A and that you also have enough deductions to claim, something your preparer can help you determine. Gather receipts for prescriptions, visits to the doctor, donations to charity, eligible business expenses and eligible purchases, according to IRS Publication 552.

Other Documentation
Canceled checks including mortgage payments can come in handy.

You may want to bring with you canceled checks, personal spreadsheets tracking expenses and other documentation. That documentation can include, among other things, higher-education expenses, student-loan interest, gambling losses, traditional IRA contributions, educator expenses and credits for childcare provider services, retirement savings contributions and adoption expenses.

Carefully follow your checklist to ensure all documents are included.

Your tax preparer may have a list of documents and related information she wants to file your taxes; obtain that list before your scheduled appointment. You can also print out the tax filing checklist offered by Yahoo Finance and supplied by H&R Block to help you organize your paperwork.

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