Clergy Financial Resources
Use these tips to get a big head start on the tax season now and save yourself headaches as the tax deadline looms. Your recordkeeping system, Clergy Tax Organizer, receipts and others deductions are critical to helping you minimize your tax liability for this coming year — and help you understand the categories to manage your taxes in the years to come. Each year, we hear a few dozen times “is it too late to call, are you too busy?” Let me take this opportunity to express that our clergy tax professionals are quite busy during tax season, but we plan for that! Do not hesitate to call an expert, even if it’s April 15th! We are here to help, and it’s always better to prepare your return correctly the first time, even if it means filing an extension, then to have unanswered questions because you don’t want to interrupt our busy time. At Clergy Financial Resources, we’ll give your taxes the personal, confidential, professional attention they deserve. No matter where you reside, we are available to serve you. Try us and see.
For more information or if you additional assistance, please use the contact information below.
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Tel: (763) 425-8778
Fax: 1 (888) 876-5101
Start early there’s no sense in putting off the inevitable.
By now, there is a good chance your W-2’s, 1099’s and a wide variety of other tax documents have or will arrive in the mail and taxes are sure to be on your mind. April 15th deadline to file your return will be upon us faster than you think.
In a recent survey, 34% of respondents said that they start working on their taxes in January. We applaud all of you early birds and we want to encourage the rest of you to follow suit.
Before you can complete your tax return, you’ll need to gather up your tax documents. For many of you, that means Form W-2 which reports your wages and tax withholdings. You may also need information from various 1099 forms that report bank interest, dividends, or other types of income.
We all go through the painstaking process of doing our taxes. For those who want to get it over with now, Clergy Financial Resources has some simple steps you can take to reduce the stress out of tax season.
Trust us, tackling tax season in bite-sized chunks will make the whole process much less daunting and save you a lot of time and headache down the road. Here are a few simple, painless tricks that can give you a big head start on your taxes now.
Step 1 - Create a system
Create a system for organizing tax documents as they come in.
There is nothing worse than sitting down to do your taxes, then realizing that you have to start scouring through the house because you can’t find an important document. The key is to have a system in place before the first tax document ever shows up at your house. Your system can be as unsophisticated as a large envelope or an accordion file. Just designate a spot and make sure that everyone in the house knows about it.
Looking back at your 2017 tax return can also give you a great head start on what you’ll need in order to prepare your return for 2018. You can see which financial institutions should be sending you tax documents, which charities you might have contributed to, and which deductions you might again be eligible to claim.
After reviewing last year’s return and any significant life events from 2018, make a checklist of items you need to prepare before filing your return. By starting early, you’ll give yourself time to compile all the information you need and to explore potential tax-saving deductions and strategies.
Step 2 - Review all tax documents
Review all tax documents as they come in.
As tax documents show up, don’t just stuff them into that great new tax record keeper. Take a moment to review each document as it comes in so that you can correct discrepancies well before you start preparing your return. If there is a mistake, getting a corrected W-2 or 1099 form can take time, so don’t wait until you are down to the wire.
Sixty-percent of clergy W-2 forms are issued in error by churches and payroll companies. This is created by the lack of understanding of the reporting requirements of taxable income, how to handle various housing situations, reimbursement and allowance plans, and the elements of clergy compensation. Please review your church W-2 form and verify the numbers are correct. If your church is unable to complete your W-2 correctly, filing your W2 is only a click away.
|W-2s from your employers||1099-MISC forms for self-employment income|
|1099-INT (interest)||1099-DIV (dividends)|
|1099-B forms showing security trades||K-1 forms for income from a partnership or trust|
|1099-SSA showing Social Security received.||1098E – Student loan Interest|
|1098 – Mortgage interest statement||1098T – Tuition Statement|
Step 3 - Order your Organizer
Order your Clergy Tax Organizer
Each year, we publish a new tax organizer, which is designed to be used as a learning tool and reference guide. This organizer will assist you in gathering the information needed to prepare your current tax return. Click the following link to order your Clergy Tax Organizer and state organizer.
There is a fee to order the Clergy Tax Organizer, which is required to complete your tax return. However, this fee will be applied to your annual tax service and is not an additional cost. After your order is processed, you will be able to download the organizer.
This clergy tax organizer is your assurance that you won’t miss any important tax information and is the most comprehensive organizer available to clergy. The Internal Revenue Service has recognized this organizer as one of the most thorough available.
Compile all your tax records and receipts and complete the organizer. We suggest you review the entire clergy organizer and state organizer and answer all the questions that apply to you. Your return will be prepared primarily from this data. You can then mail, fax, or upload your completed organizer and any other supporting tax documents needed to complete your return.
After we have received and processed your information, our office will contact you to set up the final review. This step is designed to clarify and review the entire organizer and other tax-related information together. During this review, we’ll be looking back one year for consistency, identify possible tax saving opportunities in the current year, and looking forward one year to determine adjustments for estimated payments or optional withholdings. This will be the final stage to complete your return. Your completed tax return will be uploaded to your personal CyberCabinet for your review prior to e-filing.
Order your organizer and start gathering your tax information today. Don’t forget to comb through your credit card bills and checkbook to look for possible deductions and charitable donations. There’s no reason to wait until the heat of the season to start organizing your tax information.
We are always interested in working with new clients. As tax returns continue to arrive in our office daily, they are completed in the order they are received. Our hope would be to complete all the returns in our office by April 17th. However, we know that filing extensions will be necessary. This is a simple automated process which extends the tax deadline to October 15, 2018.
Clergy Financial Resources now offers 2018 Audit Protection Plus at a low rate of $95.00 per year. This insurance protects you from the large costs of tax return corrections, required correspondence, and tax examinations by mail, and direct audits.
Step 4 - Get a Head Start
Get a Head Start on the Tax Season
Thanks to our complicated tax code even the current IRS Commissioner recently admitted that he hires professional tax help. About 80% of clergy use a tax professional to help prepare their taxes. Clergy must understand these challenges and recognize the need for industry specialists. Ministers are treated differently under the tax code than virtually anybody else in the country. They have advantages and disadvantages that no one else has. Often, confusion exists concerning clergy compensation, deductions and expenses. Our clergy tax professionals can sort out the complexity of clergy tax law. We will do all the tedious work that eats up your valuable time.
Clergy Financial Resources will begin processing and preparing returns on February 1st, 2019. All tax returns will be completed in the order they are received.
When your organizer and state worksheet are completed, please upload, mail, or fax your tax material to us along with all your supporting documents, i.e. W-2s, 1099 forms and any other record of income. Also, forward any forms and/or correspondence that you have received from the IRS, your state, and a copy of your 2017 tax return (if you have not done so previously).
Just a friendly reminder, your tax material will need to be in our office by March 15, 2019, to guarantee completion by April 15, 2019.
Upload Documents Online:
CyberCabinet (contact our office for new client enrollment)
Important: Standard email contains no security or encryption. Your messages and credentials can be read by anyone with access to the flow of information between your personal computer and your email service provider’s computer. To prevent identity theft, do not use standard email to transfer any tax information.
Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369