Data Requirements

Letting us do it for you ... here's what you will need to provide:
  • Copy of prior year tax return(s) - Federal and state

  • W-2s

  • 1099s - Interest, Dividend, Barter & Exchange, Consolidated, Retirement, Gambling, Unemployment, sale of property (1099-S), personal loans

  • SSA-1099, RRB-1099

  • Economic Impact Payments received, IRS Letter 6475

  • Medical expenses

  • Personal residence

    • Mortgage interest​

    • Property tax

    • Statement that the above does not exceed standard deduction

  • Casualty losses​

  • Sole proprietorship (Schedule C, single-member LLCs)

    • Accounting file - Quickbooks, Quicken, Excel spreadsheet​

    • W-3/Form 941s - if employees exist

    • Home office detail (if a home office exists)

    • Vehicle use substantiation - mileage log, other

    • Depreciation schedule from prior year tax return

    • Assets placed into service in current tax year

    • PPP loan proceeds and forgiveness notification

    • Any deferred social security and when paid

  • Schedule K-1s - partnership, S corporation, trust​

  • Rental property

    • Purchase date and price (closing statement, HUD-1)​

    • Improvements (appliances, additions, furniture and dates placed into service)

    • Rental income

    • Rental expenses

      • Mortgage interest​

      • Property tax

      • Insurance

      • Management fees

      • Repairs with receipts

      • Utilities

      • The amount of time you spent for the year on rental activities

      • A grouping election for multiple properties, if applicable

      • Other

  • Any 1099-SA or 1099-LTC used for medical or long-term care

  • IRA, Roth IRA contributions

  • Child credits - children under age 17

    • Birth certificates​

    • Social security card

    • School/daycare enrollment, baptism record, medical well-child check-up

    • Multiple support agreements

    • This is a highly scrutinized area and IRS requires the CPA to verify that a child or dependent actually exists since this is a tax credit

  • The above requires the Form 8877 Verification Checklist to be completed

  • Child and dependent care credits

    • All care expenses for child(ren) under 13

    • Year-end statement with care provider's EIN

    • Name of child or dependent

    • Advanced Child Tax Credit payments; IRS Letter 6419

  • Education credits - American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning

    • Form 1098-T from education facility

    • Detail of all expenses supporting amount or in excess of amount shown on 1098-T

    • American Opportunity Credit substantiation​​​​​

  • Estimated tax payments - amounts and dates

If you are an Investor, Trader in Securities, MTM Trader

  • Download of RAW TRADES into Excel format (.xlsx or .csv) ... see below

  • End of year brokerage statement showing open positions

  • End of prior year brokerage statement showing same and cost basis (if this is the first year we are preparing) and purchase date.  Use the Open Positions manual entry template

  • Form 1099-B from all brokerages (.pdf or .xlsx)

  • If you have made a MTM election, a copy of your election form and tax year

  • Home office detail for Traders in Securities and MTM Traders, if applicable - square footage of room used regularly and exclusively for trading

>  For multiple brokerages and/or odd-lot trading see below

For IRS Identity Theft purposes:

  • Driver license for your state or issue date and expiration date

  • State ID

  • Date of birth (if no driver license provided)

  • You should consider enrolling with ID.me

This is not an exhaustive list but should cover a majority of data necessary.

Some are familiar with Tax Organizers.  We have found that your prior year tax return is your best Tax Organizer.

Upload Files

 

All the above information should be compressed into .zip files (WinZip, Microsoft compression):

  • One .zip file for all Excel files (in the format below), or the RAW TRADES

  • One .zip file for all Dec brokerage statements and the 1099-B (See Open Positions below)

  • One .zip file for all .pdf files non-trading info as noted above, ie, W-2, 1099-INT, K-1s, etc

  • Include the Client Information Sheet (below) with the all .pdf files .zip file

  • One .pdf file for your prior year tax return

  • DO NOT SEND .jpg, .gif, .png, .tif or other picture files; Convert them to .pdf

  • Label the files as follows:

    • LAST  NAME-Prior year tax return.zip

    • LAST NAME-Excel trades.zip

    • LAST NAME-Broker 1099s & Dec stmts.zip
    • LAST NAME-Other tax info.zip - in roughly the following tax return order:
      • Client Information Sheet​
      • W-2s
      • 1099-INT/1099-DIV
      • Sch C info as Excel file (trading expenses)
      • Sch K-1s
      • Real estate activity as Excel file
      • 1099-Rs
      • SSA-1099/RRB-1099

 

It would also be a great help and save time if you put an item list together of what you are sending so we can review your tax items more efficiently.  The more time you spend organizing your information the less time we have to spend on it. 

The above format will allow me to review your information more quickly - and save you money - instead of picking through 50 or so files and organizing it how we prepare the tax return(s).

Upload the above through our secure upload portal once all tax information is assembled.

Please Note:  Keep the number of files included in the .zip files to a minimum.  I cannot look through a .zip file with hundreds of files nor do you want to pay for that.  Perhaps send a list of what you plan to send, in tax return order, and I will review and request more or suggest less.  Only year-end information should be included.

Download a pdf of the above data requirements >
Download Client Information Sheet >
(Required)
 
Download Form 8867 Verification Checklist >
 
Format of the trading data

The data must be in this format or these elements must be readily available.  Most of the expense in preparing Form 8949 is getting the data into the correct format

Data format 2.jpg

This is an example of data from TD Ameritrade

Popular broker conversion templates >

Load your data into the template and convert it to the required format; These are macro-enabled spreadsheets that must be 'Trusted Documents'

Secure file upload >

Secure File Upload located at gregbuhrowcpa.com and by clicking the link to the right you will be taken to the Contact page to upload your files, preferably as a .zip file

Most of the problems exist when brokers DO NOT include the closing expiration, assignment or exercise transaction, as shown above with the:

REMOVAL OF OPTION DUE TO ASSIGNMENT/EXPIRATION (0AVGO.AO00320000)

The actual option must be determined, probably by using the 'Adding Closing Transactions' template in conjunction with converting the symbol to the OSI format.

Why brokerages do not include the Symbol, which would be easy, is beyond me.  This is sample data from TD Ameritrade.

Note that the data elements for the option symbol must all be present.

 
 
Open Positions

Tying out the beginning and ending opening positions is the first and most critical step in preparing a trader's tax return.

  • Inclusion of all prior year open positions - including the purchase date and cost basis

  • Processing of all the opening and closing option trades as well as all stock buys and sells

  • Tie out the ending opening positions as to number of options/shares held and their adjusted basis as a result of wash sales and/or assignment/exercise

As explained elsewhere on this website, sometimes (most of the time) brokerages use settlement date to reflect open positions.  This can be a problem when IRS requires trade date as the tax trigger.  Sometimes Form 1099-B will even reflect the sale of a security that is also shown as an open position on the year-end statement.  We take steps to correct for this inconsistency, but it takes time.  This is obviously more problematic for a Mark-to-Market trader since the open positions have tax ramifications associated with them.

By following this process we know that we have captured all the trades for the year.

I strongly urge you to use the Open Positions manual entry template in order to facilitate the reconciliation of these quantities and amounts and then compare them to your brokers open positions listed on the year-end statement, then reconcile the differences before you send any files to us.

You should reconcile the ending Open Positions BEFORE you send your trading activity.  This means the following:

Prior Year Open Positions + Current Year Activity = Current Year Open Positions

This process takes the most time and is essential to prepare an accurate trading tax return.

 
Multiple Brokerages

For Investors and Traders in Securities - wash sales can occur across brokerages and between related-parties, such as a spouse, parent or child and retirement accounts.  All the detail mentioned above must be provided for all brokerages where you trade the same securities.  This does not mean that if you and your adult child trade the same security as wash sale can be created.​

For MTM Traders - wash sales do not apply but you must provide the RAW TRADES for all the brokerages and they must be in the same format.  If you trade in a MTM account and also a non-MTM account, there may be wash sales in the non-MTM account.

Odd-Lot Trades

Odd-lot trading are trades where the number of shares is not divisible by 100.  It does not occur much with option traders since 1 contract - in most cases - controls 100 shares of the underlying stock.

In order to accurately determine the wash sales and losses added to basis, the shares must be the same - Buys must equal Sells.  Essentially the Greatest Common Denominator  of those shares must be determined.  We have developed a technique that will match the odd-lot trades to each other but are not matched to round-lot trades.

For Investors and Traders in Securities - wash sales can occur with odd-lot trades and in some cases the GCD is 1 which makes the preparation of trading forms much more difficult.  I recently had one project where one trade produced 114,869 lines because the trader traded in mostly round-lots, except for a few which were 1577, 61, 577 and 7 shares.

In these instances, we require an electronic version (Excel) of the 1099-B so we can verify the total gain or loss and also verify if wash sales truly apply

For MTM Traders - wash sales do not apply but various amounts of shares can be bought or sold.  We summarize those trades for Form 4797 based on the ticker symbol and verify with either a pdf version of the 1099-B or electronic 1099-B.

Multiple Brokerages & Odd-Lot Trades

For Investors and Traders in Securities - Because of the above, this is virtually impossible without large computing capacity which only the back office clearinghouses possess.  We can take a look at the trades and compare to the electronic version of the 1099-B but this combination will take more time and may cost more.

For MTM Traders - since wash sales do not apply we require the RAW TRADES from every brokerage.  The same process will apply from above but we do need to keep the buys/sells and opens/closes within brokerages so the files must be separate and we will combine them.

Pricing

We are not the most expensive nor are we the least expensive.

We will review your information and provide the following:

  • Estimate of time to prepare the requested forms - complete tax return or trading forms

  • Retainer necessary to start, typically 50% of estimate, payable via Credit card or Venmo

  • Payment in full is required before tax return is provided (see Estimates); We can send you a redacted Form 1040 pages 1 and 2 for complete tax returns or a redacted Schedule D or Form 4797 page 1 for Trading-only tax returns.

 

Trading tax forms are priced at $180 per hour.  Broker information is not uniform so it must all be reformatted into a uniform format.  Further, we tie out the beginning stock and option open positions and the ending stock and option open positions, per brokerage, then prepare the tax forms.

Most tax returns ultimately work out to around $150 to $180 per hour per return, depending on how complete the information is that is provided.  The more we have to request additional information and the more time it takes, the more the tax return will cost.

Payments
  • Check - 50% or 3 hour retainer; Clears before tax return started/provided

  • Credit card - click here;  50% or 3 hours retainer; Balance due before tax return provided

  • ACH - 50% or 3 hour retainer; Balance due before tax return provided

  • Venmo - to glbcpa@gmail.com; 50% or 3 hour retainer; Balance due before tax return provided