CPA Checklist: What to Bring to your First Meeting

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) typically bases their rates at least partially on an hourly basis. Because of this, it’s in your best interest to be organized and efficient with your paperwork so they don’t have to spend a lot of time requesting pertinent documents and information from you. To help speed along the process and save yourself some money, make sure your bring all of the following to your first meeting with your CPA.A completed tax organizer – This is a form that has all your necessary basic information for your account. Some CPAs will have their own form for you to fill out. Otherwise, you can find basic tax organizers online.

Last Year’s Tax Return – This is essential for new clients. Always keep your returns on file so your tax preparer has a good starting point.

Form W-2 – Ask your employer for this if you haven’t received it yet.

Form 1099 – You’ll receive this from your banks and investment accounts or from anyone who’s retained you as an independent contractor.

Form 1098 – If you own a home or property, your mortgage company will forward you this information.

Brokerage statements – Bring these in for each of your stock, bond or investment accounts for the year.

Closing statements – If you bought, sold or refinanced real estate in the tax year, bring your closing documents.

Any notices from the IRS or other taxing authorities – If you received any letters about your taxes or tax situation from your city, county, state or the IRS, bring these with.

Schedule K-1 – This form is for income or loss form S-corporations, partnerships and other legal entities.

State specific forms – Some states require additional forms or documentations for exemptions and deductions. For example, Seattle and Bellevue businesses have to pay Business & Occupation (B&O) taxes according to Washington State tax law.

Aside from these documents, you’ll want to bring in any other supporting documents. That includes schedules, checkbooks, receipts for charitable donations and business purchases, information regarding deductible expenses and any documents relating to self-employment income or other miscellaneous income.

Being organized when it comes to working with a CPA pays off in many ways. You’ll save time and you’ll ensure that your tax return is filed in a correct and timely fashion, which decreases your chances of paying penalties or being audited. Ask your CPA what you should bring to your first meeting and get started off on the right foot.
John Huddleston
Seattle CPA

About the author

Seattle CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. Since 2002, he has owned his own small business, Huddleston Tax CPAs. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.