Tax Data for 2015 & Tax Planning for 2016

Snow on Chautauqua and Sundance

As much as we might all like to put it off further, it’s getting to be time to pull together our various documents and prepare our tax returns for 2015.

You probably already have a fair number of forms — student loan and mortgage loan interest statements were generally made available to us all early in January, and our employers should have sent out our W-2 and 1099 forms earlier this week. The companies that hold our investments (Schwab, Folio, FTJ, and so on) will be sending out their 1099s a little later this month; they’re waiting a little bit in order to avoid having to send “corrected” forms later on.

All the preparation leads up to Tax Day proper: Monday, April 18th, this year (except in Massachusetts and Maine, of course, who get a little extra time to celebrate Patriot’s Day). The IRS has given us all the weekend to fret a little further, I suppose, and second-guess ourselves.

We’re not tax professionals, though we know a thing or two about the process and paperwork. We have gathered a couple of documents that might help you get your arms around the project: the two-page “Key Financial Data” documents.

The 2015 document might be useful in the preparation of your taxes now, as it contains a lot of information about last year’s tax brackets and rates, as well as some of the more frequently used deductions, exemptions, and credits. The second page contains information about retirement plans, Social Security, and Medicare. And the 2016 document will probably be useful in preparing for next year, as it shows the updated numbers for the current year — not many items have changed much, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on the details.

If you’re working with a tax advisor this year, we hope that you’ll share these Key Financial Data documents with them, as a kind of introduction. After all, the more closely your financial professionals can coordinate with one another, the better the job we can all do on your behalf. And feel free to share these documents with anyone you know who’s dreading the tax prep process — maybe it’ll help make the process a little easier!

We hope you’ll also take a look at your retirement accounts, and the contribution limits for 2015 and 2016, so that you can make the maximum contributions for 2015 and 2016. Getting caught up and getting a head start for the coming year is good strategy. Recent studies show that making the maximum contributions earlier, instead of waiting until the last minute, can have a huge impact on the total amount you’ll be able to accumulate.

If you have specific questions about your individual situation, or general comments or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us . We’re happy to help however we can!