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Financial Planning Insights

Getting Ready for Tax Time

4 minute read time

Over the next couple of months, you’ll start to receive tax information from employers and financial institutions. Here’s a quick overview to help you stay organized. By being prepared and getting ready early, you can save time—and maybe even some money—this tax season.

Gather the right documents

There are several documents and pieces of information that you can pull together before you meet with your accountant or sit down to do your taxes.

1. Employment forms

Your employer is required to provide you with a W-2 form, which is typically mailed to you by the end of January. If you are a contractor or self-employed, your clients will instead send you 1099 forms with information on how much you were paid last year. You should expect to receive your 1099s by early February. If you do not receive your 1099s from your clients or W-2 from your employer, reach out in February to make sure you receive a copy before you file your taxes.

2. Last year’s taxes—both federal and state

A copy of last year’s state and federal return can help you understand what deductions you utilized last year and can help you fill out your tax return for this year.

3. Documentation for any deductions

Each year, many file using the standard deduction, which is a set amount that taxpayers can automatically subtract from their income without the hassle of itemizing. For others, there may be higher savings in itemizing your deductions. Some popular deductions include:

  1. Charitable donations Gather any receipts or invoices from your charitable donations that you plan to itemize on your taxes. Our Charitable Giving series answers many commonly asked questions about how charitable donations can play a role in your financial plan and in minimizing your tax burden.
  2. Medical bills – If your medical expenses are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, you may be eligible to deduct your qualified unreimbursed medical care expenses.
  3. Retirement account contributions (Form 5498) – You should receive Form 5498 from the bank or brokerage that holds your account in January.
  4. Mortgage interest (Form 1098) – For homeowners, Form 1098 details the amount of interest you paid on your mortgage during the year.
  5. Student loan interest (Form 1098-E) – If you paid over $600 in student loan interests, you should receive a copy of your 1098-E for use in your tax filing.

4. Documentation for any credits you may be eligible for

Tax credits allow taxpayers to reduce the income on which they owe taxes on. Some popular credits include:

  1. Child tax credit (Letter 6419) – Letter 6419 includes the amount of advanced Child Tax Credit payments someone has received so they can claim any remaining credit on their tax return.
  2. Tuition credit (Form 1098-T) – Colleges and other post-secondary institutions will send Form 1098-T, which outlines any “qualified educational expenses” paid in the last year, including tuition, enrollment materials, etc.
  3. American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit (Form 8863) – This form helps you claim credits on qualified education expenses paid to an eligible postsecondary educational institution.

5. Tax documents for your banking and wealth accounts

To ensure a seamless tax filing process, it is crucial to gather all your tax documents for both your bank and wealth accounts, regardless of whether you receive them via mail or through our institution's online portal. If you have any questions or need assistance regarding access to your tax documents, we encourage you to reach out to your dedicated banker or wealth advisor. They possess the expertise and knowledge to provide you with the necessary guidance and support, ensuring that you have all the information you need for a successful tax filing.

Meet with your advisor

Now is a great time to meet with your advisors to review your portfolio and make sure that your assets and your financial goals are still in alignment.

While meeting with your advisor, you can discuss your current situation and if there is anything that you should be aware of or doing to minimize your tax burden. Some topics you might discuss with your advisor at tax time might be about eligibility and the potential benefits of a Roth IRA conversion, how you’re managing capital gains, and about the tax efficiency of your asset allocation.

If you have any questions for us at Johnson Financial Group, please be in touch. We’re happy to help you get oriented for tax time in support of a productive—and potentially money-saving— experience working with your tax advisor.

Johnson Financial Group and its subsidiaries do not provide tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor with respect to your personal situation. Wealth management services are provided through Johnson Bank and Johnson Wealth Inc., Johnson Financial Group companies. Additional information about Johnson Wealth Inc., a registered investment adviser, and its investment adviser representatives is available at NOT FDIC INSURED | NO BANK GUARANTEE | MAY LOSE VALUE