“In the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” –Ben Franklin
It’s that time of year again. With only two days left of 2008 it’s time to turn our thoughts to doing our taxes once more; and unless you’re an accountant, there’s probably a certain amount of grumbling and procrastination involved in this activity. But with a little bit of organization, preparing your taxes doesn’t have to be a painful or grueling activity. Wells Fargo has a wonderful, comprehensive online Tax Preparation Checklist that will help immensely before you sit down with Turbo Tax or meet with your accountant.
One of the things on this list is your 1098 form, which lists your mortgage interest paid. As long as you’re thinking about your mortgage, this is a good time to confirm that your home is held in the name of your trust (if you have one). Even if you are certain you transferred your home into the name of your trust when you first bought it (or when you first created the trust), it is not unusual for a refinancing to change that. We suggest that you check to verify that your home and other real estate is still titled in the name of your trust.
As an estate planning firm, we would also like to remind you that April 15 is not just a deadline for your own personal taxes. If you’ve had a death in the family in the past year, various tax returns may also need to be filed for the decedent. If you are or were the executor of an estate in 2008 and have questions about filing tax returns, you should check with your tax advisor for help. An early meeting with you tax advisor can take some of the fear out of the April 15 deadline.
If you have made gifts in excess of $12,000 per recipient during 2008, or added a child or parent on title to your real poperty, you should also bring that to your tax advisor’s attention. You made need to file an informational Gift Tax Return.