Friday, April 10, 2020

Remote Tax Preparation in the Age of CoronaVirus

These instructions are provided to assist my current and referred clients (or brand new clients) with preparing taxes remotely through Lighthouse Tax.

The best way to do this is to email me at and give me your name, phone number and email address. With that, I will share a drop box folder that only we can access. You can upload your documents there. You can also email them directly to me, but you do that at your own risk. I also need a copy of your 2019 tax return and birthdays for everyone in the household.

Once I have the documents, I will prepare the tax return and send emails to confirm information, or ask for additional documents. Once I have a good result, I will send them to you with any discussion or additional information, to make sure you are okay with the result and fees. If you aren't satisfied at this point, there is no obligation to pay and you are free to let me know that you will not be filing with me. I will also either ask for your direct deposit information if not already provided, or confirm the last 4 digits of the account number to make sure it hasn't changed.

After you confirm you are ready to go, I will send you an email with a brief discussion of the approval process, and discuss how to pay the fees, and sign documents via a drop box shared folder.

At no point in this process should you go more than 48 hours without getting a response from me if you have sent information, unless I have informed you I won't be available. So if you don't get a response - ping me again.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of documents to include:
Write up a quick document that summarizes your 2020 life/tax situation - include the name, SSN, birthday and relationship of everyone in the household. You can also include information here that you might have receipts for, but that are too cumbersome to scan, such as charitable donations, car taxes, gas receipts, business/rental expenses, college book costs, list of Goodwill type items donated etc.
Send a picture of your driver's license (and spouses). If you want fees pulled from the refund, I also need a picture of you holding the license near your face so we can verify identity.
A digital copy of your 2019 tax return is important.
Birthdays for everyone in the household.
Name, SSN and birthday for any new children.
The amount of any stimulus you received and date received.
W-2's for jobs
1099's for investments
1098's for mortgages
1098E's for student loans
1098T for college
Daycare statements
1099MISC for business or rental income
1099SA if you have Health Savings Accounts and spent money from them.
1099R's for pensions or retirement withdrawals.
SSA1099 for Social Security
Car taxes paid
Sales tax paid on cars or boats purchased during the year, if you don't pay state income taxes
For businesses include a summary list of categorized expenses, or a list of all expenses paid.
For rentals, provide rental income and expenses, and I will ask for further information as I need it.

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