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Tax Planning Advice: Help Clients Organize Their Documents—Andrew Rice

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This is the 16th in a series of 23 tax tips that AdvisorOne is publishing on each business day in March as part of our Tax Planning Special Report (see our Special Report calendar for a more complete list of topics to be covered and experts who will deliver their insights).

The tax tip today comes from Andrew Rice (below), vice president and CFO of Money Management Services, Inc., an independent RIA firm in Birmingham, Ala. He is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, Certified Tax Specialist and Wealth Management Specialist. Rice holds a BS in accounting from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Rice writes regularly for AdvisorOne about tax planning issues.

The Tip: Organize the Documents

No doubt you’ve already been speaking with clients regarding how to save on 2010 tax returns. Once clients have created a process for gathering their documents, and made it efficient, I’d like to recommend another basic tax-saving strategy, which will serve your clients well this year and for years to come:

Recommend that your clients organize their tax documents in a fashion that helps them retrieve, present copies, and/or summarize their personal data, income, deductions and expenses for their accountant.

With the complexity of each taxpayer’s life, any accountant needs an organized presentation of information to easily review and/or ask questions quickly to best help a taxpayer.

Furthermore, recommend that your clients prepare their supporting documents with an organized checklist to make sure they don’t forget or miss something important. An easy client tax organizer such as the one on CCH, Rice suggests, works very well.     

See ourTax Planning Special Report calendar for a list of future topics to be covered.