GCD 1040 Process

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Thank you for choosing GCD Advisors to prepare your federal and state income tax returns. In order to keep your processing costs reasonable and minimize your taxes and possible future communications from governmental agencies, we have created a very robust process to prepare your personal tax returns. We strongly encourage our clients to familiarize themselves with all the steps below and contact us with any questions before we begin preparing your returns.

Here is our normal timeline during tax season:

January 20: Clients are sent an organizer (if previously requested), or a simple email, to inform them to start gathering their tax documents
January 31: Clients should have received most tax documents from providers by this date
February 15: Send proper tax documents to GCD. If still missing Forms 1099 from brokerage accounts, wait only until February 28.
March 1: All tax documents due to GCD, regardless of whether you are missing Forms 1099. These can be emailed in later as well as any missing K-1s.
April 15: Tax returns/extensions required to be filed

Click on any of these links to read more about the various stages of your return

PRE-PREPARATION

1. Organizers - Sent only to clients that previously requested them. If you did not receive one, and would like one, contact the partner you work with. Note: The organizer should only be used to list items where there is no source document. Do NOT record amounts in the organizer where you are providing us a source document (i.e. W-2 or 1099). This would be unnecessary time spent and would result in extra processing time to corroborate the different amounts, resulting in extra costs to you.

2. Gather your documents - Refer to the 2 lists below of what to send and what NOT to send. Try to send all necessary documents before the end of February in one single communication.

DOCUMENTS OK TO SEND TO GCD

  • W-2s - click here to determine if you are required to send your children's W-2s to GCD.
  • Form 1099 for interest, dividend, capital gains, pension, IRA and social security income. NOTE: if GCD acts as your financial advisor on any of these accounts at Assetmark or Morgan Stanley - Deerfield office only, do NOT send us these Forms 1099. We will obtain them directly from these providers.
  • Form 1099G for any government refunds you may have received.
  • Form 1095-A Health Insurance Marketplace, if you receive one at all. If not, but you receive Form 1095B or C, please do NOT send these to us since they have no impact on your tax return. 
  • Form 1098 indicating mortgage interest and real estate taxes paid for either your primary residence, 2nd homes or rental properties. If your total loan values for NON rental properties only, were greater than $750,000 as of the end of this tax year OR the year before, indicate the loan values as of the end of both year ends for each loan individually. For home equity loans taken out after 12/31/17, indicate if the proceeds were NOT all used to buy, build or substantially improve the property that secure the loan.
  • Form 1098T reflecting any college tuition paid.
  • Form 1099Q but send ONLY if the distributions were to pay for K-12 expenses. Distributions for college expenses are NOT required to be reported.
  • K-1s for partnership, trust or S corporation activity owned by you, your spouse or jointly. Do NOT send any in which they are owned by your IRA, pension or any other retirement plan - as indicated in Box I2 on the front of the K-1. If you are a shareholder in a publicly held partnership, check www.taxpackagesupport.com to retrieve any K-1s not yet received.
  • HUD-1 closing statements (first 2 pages only) received when obtaining a mortgage either for a refinance or an initial purchase.
  • Real estate taxes: provide copies of county bills but document the exact amount paid during the tax year, not after. We cannot assume you paid a bill if there is no indication. Also, indicate if any of these taxes were paid on non-personal property that you are not declaring as a rental property on Schedule E.
  • Sale of your home: This should be recorded, regardless of whether it resulted in a gain or loss. Be sure to provide us with the A) total amount received from the sale [this may be on a 1099]; B) date sold; C) total amount paid for the house; D) date it was purchased; and E) total of all improvements (if any) put into the house. Estimates are allowed for all these items except the sales price. All but the improvements amount can be found on the first 2 pages of the HUD-1 closing documents you may still have from both the purchase and sale. Do NOT send any receipts. Retain for your files for at least 3 years.
  • Stimulus Checks: You may be eligible for a credit equal to the amount of stimulus checks you did NOT receive, assuming you were eligible to do so. To help us determine if this applies to you, if you felt you were even eligible, provide the amounts and dates your received any checks from the federal government. 
  • Summarized listing ONLY of the following items. We do NOT need individual details but you should retain all receipts for at least 3 years. We encourage you to use our Client Tax Info Recaps file to help you aggregate many of these items. Also, to prevent you from providing details about itemized deductions you may not qualify for, please read our Tax FAQs before proceeding.
    • Cash charitable donations: details by charity are not required; retain cancelled checks or credit card receipts to support the deduction, if inquired later by a governmental agency. If you send copies of letters for us to scan on your behalf, we ask that you also provide a summary so there is no confusion as to the total amount. If you turned 70.5 at the end of the tax year, indicate any amounts that you may have had paid to a charity directly from your IRA. New for 2020: even if you do not itemize, you are allowed up to $300 as a deduction if donated. Be sure to let us know.
    • Noncash-donations by charity name; for a guideline of values to use, go to the Salvation Army’s website
    • Medical expenses: ONLY if in excess of 7.5% of your AGI, summarized by categories; details by doctor not required. Do NOT provide any receipts.
    • Health savings account (HSA) information: withdrawals must be reported on Form 1099-SA to be provided to us. Deposits may show on your W-2 (if paid through your employer) or Form 5498-SA (which is NOT required to be given to us since they may not be available til after April 15). If Form 5498-SA is not available, just indicate the total amounts funded NOT through your employer. If you receive Form 5498-SA after April 15, you can email to us but it will not have a further impact on your return if you provide us with the proper info before April 15.
    • Federal or state estimated taxes paid for the current tax year, if any. Do NOT include a) amounts paid in the current year to finalize your prior year federal or state return; b) estimates that applied to any other tax year; c) prior year overpayments that were applied to the current tax year. Do not indicate "whatever GCD told me to pay" or provide copies of the coupons we sent you with NO written indication from you that they were paid. We must have exact amounts and dates from you. Note: estimated taxes can be reduced by increasing your withholding at your job. Ask us about this concept at any time.
    • Income and expenses for any unincorporated business
    • Income and expenses for any rental property
    • Dependent care expenses for children that were under the age of 13 at the end of the tax year. Provide name, address, social security number and amounts of any institution/person.
    • Amounts paid to any “state sponsored” Section 529 college savings plans before December 31st of the tax year. These are the ONLY ones that are deductible. For Illinois taxpayers, this would be Bright Start, Bright Direction or College Illinois.
  • Other Items
    • We always ask all clients about the non-existence of any item that existed in the prior year. This is to ensure that our clients provide us with everything to avoid them from receiving correspondence from a governmental agency later. Review your prior year return and indicate to us if an item truly does not exist in the current year.
    • New clients only: provide us with a copy of your prior year federal and state return; provide the names and birthdates of everybody listed on your tax return.
  • Employees of Abbott Labs or Abbvie
    • Form 1099 for ALL your accounts with UBS or ETrade. 
    • Confirm cash donations to Common Appeal/United Way were included in your summary of cash donations
    • Confirm 1099s include dividend detail showing Abbott and Abbvie dividends, since they are Illinois tax exempt
    • Copies of all your Advices of Exercises or Vesting incurred/received throughout the year and through 4/15 of the next year
    • A projection of the number of RSU/option shares you plan to vest or exercise during this next tax year. This is needed to prepare estimated taxes, if any.

DOCUMENTS NOT TO SEND TO GCD

Please read these now to save yourself time

  • Information on accounts where the income is less than $10
  • Cancelled checks
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Actual receipts of items you have already summarized elsewhere. IMPORTANT: You should retain all of these for at least 3 years, in case ever inquired by a governmental agency.
  • Monthly bank statements for ANY account.
  • K-1s for partnership, trust or S corporation activity that is owned within your IRA, pension or any other retirement plan, as identified in Box I2 on the K-1 itself.
  • K-1 cover letters, instruction pages, etc.
  • 1099 instruction booklets provided by any brokerage firm
  • Form 1095A or 1095B. Only send in Form 1095A Health Insurance Marketplace Statement
  • Form 1099-Q Payments from Qualified Education Programs, unless you used the proceeds for K-12 costs

3. After you have gathered all the documents above, complete our Personal Tax Minimizer document. Please be sure to carefully read the directions at the top of this form to save you from spending unnecessary time on this process. Do NOT write info in the organizer and the Minimizer if you are providing a source document. WE ONLY NEED TO SEE THE AMOUNT ONCE.

SENDING US YOUR SOURCE DOCUMENTS

4. Once you have gathered ALL your documentation, and our Personal Tax Minimizer, send all your documents to GCD using one of the methods described below, listed in our order of preference. 

NEW FOR THIS YEAR: There is NO limit to the amount of files or pages you can send to us electronically. 

a. EMAIL, only to the partner you work with

  • Many required items can be downloaded from the internet and need not be scanned. Rescanning these paper items will severely reduce the readability quality. These include documents for interest income, dividends, brokerage 1099s, mortgage interest, W-2s, etc.
  • For all other items, scan each item in black & white, not color, to reduce the file size
  • Name each PDF with the name of the document (i.e. W-2 Abbott, Interest - Chase, etc.). Try NOT to combine documents in a single file. A great FREE phone app to do this with is SwiftScan (formerly Scanbot and Scanpro)
  • Be sure that you have included everything except maybe some publicly held partnership K-1s
  • Confirm no passwords are protecting any files
  • To reduce processing time, do not submit any summaries you may have created to help yourself keep track of what you are sending. But save them for your records.
  • Attach all files to a SINGLE (not multiple) email to ONLY the partner you work with. If you have too many files, the files are too large or you are concerned with email security, use the Upload function below.

OR

b. UPLOAD only to the partner you work with - due to security issues, we cannot accept items sent through Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive, or any other service

  • ONLY use this option if you are concerned about email security or have too many files to email or the files are too large
  • If using this process, do NOT also email these files
  • Upload ALL files at the same time. There are no quantity or size limits.
  • Follow all email guidelines from above (separate files, small file sizes, no passwords, etc.)
  • Upload only to the partner you work with. This function, however, is NOT available on our SCPThis will work on a smartphone too if the files are resident on your phone

        OR

c. Send by either US Mail or an overnight service to our business address

  • To prevent us from properly scanning all your documents, do NOT use post-it notes, paperclips or staples.
  • Do not send us back an empty organizer. You may have used it to help jog your memory but we don’t need it if totally blank. Only send back the pages you wrote in.
  • To reduce processing time, do not submit any summaries you may have created to help yourself keep track of what you are sending. But save them for your records.
  • Be sure that you have included everything except maybe some publicly held partnership K-1s
  • Due to Covid, we are not in the office as much these days so we hope you would consider method #1 or #2 above instead. If, however, you plan to drop off your documents, and you wish to meet with your partner, be sure to email him in advance to make an appointment.

5. Within 24 hours of GCD receiving your documents, you will be sent an email confirming receipt of your documents. If you do not get such an email, we did not receive them.

PREPARATION AND REVIEW PROCESS

6. We then begin preparing your returns. If you find additional documents that GCD will need, email them to the partner you work with. Once your return is prepared he will email you with specific questions relative to your return. We cannot finalize your return until we receive the answers to all questions.

FINALIZATION OF YOUR RETURN AND COMMUNICATIONS YOU WILL RECEIVE

7. We then finalize your tax returns and email you with complete finalization instructions. We will direct you to our Secure Client Portal (SCP) where we will post the instructions, your copy of the return and your source documents. 

8. You will be instructed to process only the few efile forms to send back to us. This will need to be done right away and all such forms will be available for you to view on our SCP by 9:00 am the day after you submit them. You will not have to call or email to check on these. We now offer eSigning of these efile forms. In the email you receive from us will be complete instructions for how to properly complete this process. View here for a for a simple video of this process:

 

If you elected NOT to use this new process, or you have troubles doing the verification process, you will still have the option to print these efile forms, sign and return them by either email or upload. Be sure to familiarize yourself with our efiling process.

9. Within 48 hours or so after we efile your returns, you will get emails from CCH, our tax software provider, that your returns were accepted by both the IRS and any state, if applicable. Do NOT forward these to GCD, since we get them directly from CCH as well.

10. Before April 15th, you must go back to the Filing Instructions file provided to you, either on our SCP or paper, to pay any amounts due with the returns and estimates taxes (if any). These can be paid by check or online.

11. The copy of your return and source documents are all located on our Secure Client Portal (SCP) and ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE PRINTED. These files will remain there as long as you are a client, but we strongly suggest that you download copies to your home computer now.  

12. Our invoice will be provided and is due upon receipt. Please use one of these 3 methods to pay.

If you ever receive correspondence from any governmental agency regarding any tax returns - whether we prepared them or not - be sure to email it to the partner you work with for an immediate assessment. Do NOT just pay any amounts indicated without having us look at these letters. Our experience shows that many notices result in no money due.

If you have any questions about this process, contact us at any time!

Thank you very much for giving GCD the opportunity to work with you and your family on such an important part of your life!