Reviewing a client’s tax return can always be an informative exercise to ensure you understand all sources of their income and their tax liabilities for the prior year. This is true for existing clients with whom you have been working and is especially true for new clients as a way to familiarize yourself with their situation.
In this checklist, we focus on items to review your client’s tax return if they are retired, including:
- The client’s filing status. If they are married should they automatically file jointly with their spouse or might there be situations where the client might consider filing married-separate?
- If the client is divorced or widowed, there are filing steps for them to take depending upon timing and circumstances.
- If the client had investment income for the prior year, there are reporting issues that you will want to be sure your client addressed in connection with this income.
- If the client was covered by a qualified plan during the prior tax year there may be some reporting issues to consider, especially if they took any distributions from these plans. For clients who have reached their RBD, did they take the full amount of their required minimum distribution from their retirement plans? Did they do a rollover from a retirement to an IRA? Were any distributions taken from an after-tax IRA account?
- Check to see if the client had a high level of medical expenses or if there are state-specific issues to be considered.
This is a comprehensive checklist of the types of issues that advisors should be discussing with their clients who are retired when reviewing their tax returns from the prior year.