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2017 TAX ORGANIZER GUIDE
This Tax Organizer is designed to help you gather the information needed to prepare your 2016 personal income tax returns. To avoid filing for an extension*, your completed Organizer and all required supporting documentation should be submitted to Fowler & Co. no later than the deadline.
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IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU CAN ONLY SUBMIT YOUR ORGANIZER ONCE. You can leave the web portal and return as many times as you would like but you can only submit your information once so please take care before submitting.
You can upload additional files to be included with your Tax Organizer when you click Send to Preparer. This is a convenient and secure way to send information regarding the preparation of your tax return without having to mail or deliver these documents to our office. You can attach the following types of files to your Tax Organizer: Quicken® tax exchange format (.txf), Microsoft® Excel® (.xls, .xlsx), Microsoft® Word® (.doc, .docx, .rtf), Adobe® Reader® (.pdf), image files (.jpg, .bmp, .tif, .png), text documents (.txt), and web pages (.html).
Documents to upload (when applicable):
Data privacy: For your protection, we no longer recommend documents or other personal information be transmitted via email. Please use your Fowler & Co. ShareFile folder for all data exchanges. You can log on directly through our website at www.fowler-cpa.com.
Enter 2016 information on the Tax Organizer screens provided. If you have source documents, you can forgoe the input and simply upload those source documents. If any information does not apply to you, please note "N/A" to acknowledge you reviewed this section of the Organizer and it is Not Applicable. If pre-filled information needs to be updated please make the necessary corrections before submitting your Organizer.
Please answer all questions in the Questionnaire and use the Notes to Preparer screen to provide additional information not otherwise requested in the Tax Organizer. The Notes to Preparer screen is also available for any questions that you may have for our office.
A note about Charitable Donations:
By law all charitable contributions claimed as a deduction on your tax return must be substantiated by keeping a written record of the contribution. Acceptable written records used to substantiate each contribution include a cancelled check or bank record that supports the donation, or a written receipt or similar statement that includes (1) the name of the donee organization and (2) the date and amount of the contribution and (3) if any goods or services were received in exchange for the contribution. Contributions of $250 or more require a statement from the charitable organization. If the resulting returns are examined by the IRS, requests may be made for the written record of the contribution. It is recommended that for any charitable contributions claimed, you retain the written records for at least seven years.
The substantiation rules for noncash contributions require the donated property's fair market value (FMV) to be determined. FMV is the depreciated, or used, value of the donated property. It is not the purchase price of a similar "new" item. The following methods can be used to determine FMV:
- Valuation guides available from organizations such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Many guides include a value range that can be used to determine FMV based upon location and condition of the property. Keep any guides used to determine FMV with your tax records.
- Compare prices at area thrift stores for items in comparable condition. Visit a few stores to determine price and demand for the property.
- Search online auctions or classified ads for comparable items. Keep printouts of such listings used to determine FMV of the donated property.
- For donated items with a FMV of more than $5,000, valuation by a qualified appraiser will be required in most cases. Keep the appraiser's report with your tax documents.
- To further substantiate your noncash contribution, keep any acknowledgment letters, receipts, or similar statements from the organization. Consider keeping a picture of the donated item(s) with your tax documents. See IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property for further information.