Tax Time Tips

Stephen Ganns,, shares tips for the upcoming tax season.It’s that time of year again – time to sit down with your accountant or send your papers to your accountant to get your taxes done. So what can you do to facilitate this process and make it easier for the accountant so he or she can spend more time working on your actual tax returns and minimizing taxes, rather than spending time sorting through a plethora of documents? 

Be Concise

Bring your accountant everything that he needs concerning your income, including W-2(s) and interest and dividends statements from banks and brokerage accounts. Be especially careful with brokerage account statements. If you have sold stocks, make sure you have documentation that shows:

  • when you bought them,
  • how much you paid for them, and
  • when and for how much they were sold.

When that information is not there, your accountant has to hunt it down. The more time he or she spends hunting down information, the less time he or she has to actually prepare your tax return and find ways to minimize your tax obligation.


Various deductions require various types of documentation. For instance, for medical deductions, you should have a backup of medical, dental, and any other healthcare-related bills. The accountant doesn’t need the actual bills – a summary will suffice as long as you are aware that he or she is relying on your word that you have the bills.

The same goes for charitable contributions. In this case however, please note that charitable contributions of $250 and above not only require a cancelled check or a credit card statement, but a letter from the 501c3 Charity acknowledging your contribution.

Mortgage interest is readily available from the 1099-INT that you will receive from the bank, your mortgage company, or from the seller if it is a  private mortgage. Real estate taxes are readily available from real estate tax bills.


If you own a small business, please do not waste your accountant’s time and your money by bringing in shoe boxes of receipts.  With Quicken, QuickBooks, and even Excel spreadsheets, you can organize and summarize your expenses very easily, which gives the accountant more time to look for deductions that you might have missed.

Remember that you and your accountant are partners in your tax preparation. The more that you can do ahead of time, the less time the accountant will have to spend mired in going through all those documents.  Wouldn’t you rather he or she spend more time saving you money on your taxes?

Happy Tax Season Everyone!

Stephen J. Ganns

Stephen J. Ganns, CPA


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