Better safe than sorry when documenting for income tax purposes

Income tax practitioner Lois Shell states that documentation throughout the year is the main factor in filing an accurate income tax return. To schedule an appointment, or for more information, call 543-2288.

Thinking of tossing that receipt? Maybe you shouldn't. Income tax practitioner Lois Shell states that documentation throughout the year is the main factor in filing an accurate income tax return. "With proper documentation taxpayers are assured of getting the credits and deductions they are entitled to," said Shell. Many people miss deductions because they haven't kept accurate and complete records of their financial income and expenditures for the year. "Waiting until the last minute and trying to remember what income and expenses you incurred earlier in the year leaves too much room for errors," Shell said.

The basics needed for tax preparation are Social Security numbers, birthdates of all dependents, all W-2s, 1099s, interest statements, etc. (documentation of income), and detailed expense records -- if you own a business, farm, rental property, or are self-employed.

When you have gathered your financial information, your tax practitioner can prepare your tax return making sure you receive all deserved credits and deductions for your individual situation. Your tax return can be submitted electronically to the IRS over a secure Web site. E-filing returns are submitted daily with the tax practitioner receiving notification within 48 hours if the tax return has been accepted by the IRS for processing. When a person E-files, choosing direct deposit as an option, refunds are usually deposited within 10-14 days from being accepted by the IRS.

Shell notes that this time of year can be stressful for taxpayers. For this reason Shell states, "It is important for taxpayers to find a tax preparer that they feel confident and comfortable with. At Farmers Service, Inc. the motto 'Tax and Business with a Personal Touch' reflects this idea."

A taxpayer should be able to contact their tax preparer throughout the year with any tax questions. "It's not uncommon for me to receive tax questions in July. Our service is available year-round for our clients," states Shell.

Shell is the Carter County tax practitioner for Farmers Service, Inc., which is the tax division of Farm Bureau. Tax preparation "is a service provided in the local county offices to all Farm Bureau members," Shell said. "Since it is a 'service to member' program, the fees charged are reasonable. Some people become members of Farm Bureau to take advantage of the tax preparation services."

To schedule an appointment, or for more information, call 543-2288. Appointments are available to accommodate taxpayers' working schedules -- day, evening and weekend. Also, taxpayers may drop off their tax information, including a contact number for questions regarding their return, at 301 N. Lynn Avenue in Elizabethton and will be notified when their tax return is completed.

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