Tax information needed to prepare old tax returns

We often find when a client has not filed in many years that the most important to first address is to gather the tax data needed to prepare the income tax returns.

If the client was an employee during the time period, we can get their W-2 income tax data from the IRS. Typically, then the only items missing would be itemized tax deductions and information about tax dependents.  We would also need their spouses data if we are filing joint tax returns.

If the client was self employed, the process is much more involved. We have to calculate the business income and expenses related to the self employment income. This often means trying to obtain credit card statements  and bank statements to help determine the business expenses, and then start gathering the receipts to back up the expenses. For the income earned, we can usethe bank statements and review the deposits made. With this information, and the information above, we would then be able to prepare the income tax returns.