Expert offers tax appointment tips

BIG RAPIDS — The winter holidays have ended but the flurry of activity may continue as families search for important receipts and documents from 2017 as tax season will begin soon.

Before the W-2s start coming in the mail, a local accountant offers a few tips to get ready to talk about taxes.

“The biggest thing we tell our clients is to put an envelope nearby where they sort their mail,” said Jeanne Bergelin Murphy, certified public accountant (CPA) with Bergelin and Murphy, LLC. “When anything tax-related comes in the mail, place it in the envelope.”

Bergelin Murphy said her firm begins scheduling appointments to discuss taxes for the first week of February.

Individuals can find checklists online of the various things they should have when they go in for their interview. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), individuals need to bring their social security number, as well as the social security number for their spouse and dependents, if applicable.

Along with W-2 and 1099 forms, individuals also should have other information, including investment, business, unemployment and rental property income, as well as homebuyer, mortgage and student loan interest and moving expenses. Individuals should also bring in documentation for charitable contributions or donations.

“Generally, with a new client, we will go through the process and make suggestions with them,” Bergelin Murphy said.

Bergelin Murphy said while this year will be similar to previous years in terms of tax filing and return, next year things will be different due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which could reduce tax rates for business and individuals. The changes will not appear in the taxes filed for 2017.