Reduce your carbon footprint and clear out your filing cabinet. Going paperless with e-delivery of your tax forms can streamline your tax season.
Tax season is only a few months away, and one of the first steps TD Ameritrade clients can consider taking is to switch to e-delivery from paper documents.
Getting hard copies of your records is so 20th century. There are multiple reasons to switch to paperless tax forms, and it’s a snap to switch to e-delivery. TD Ameritrade clients can log into their accounts at tdameritrade.com and edit their communication preferences (see figure 1). Having trouble? A TD Ameritrade financial consultant can walk you through how to change your delivery method settings.
Darci Jensen, Senior Manager, Tax Solutions for TD Ameritrade Clearing, offers seven reasons to go to e-delivery.
Reason #1: Quicker delivery. Unlike the snail-mail method, paperless tax forms and other account documents are available as soon as they’re ready. You’ll receive a notification email that your materials are waiting for you, ending the hassle of waiting for them to arrive via the post office.
Reason #2: Better security. With e-delivery, you don’t have to worry about your sensitive documents getting lost in the mail, or worse, stolen, putting your personal information at risk of identity theft. To retrieve your e-delivered statement, just log in to your TD Ameritrade brokerage account(s).
Jensen says although the IRS truncates your Social Security and tax ID numbers on documents, there is other personal information on those forms that you might not want someone else to have. Another good reason to switch from paper is if your mailing address changes. Physical delivery of documents can be delayed if mail is forwarded or returned to TD Ameritrade, she adds.
“As long as you keep your email address updated, you’ll get the notification that your statements are available online,” she says.
Reason #3: Seven years of paperless tax documents available at your fingertips. Paperless delivery fits your schedule and your retrieval method. TD Ameritrade stores up to seven years of tax documents in your account, and you can access these materials 24 hours a day, wherever you are. Jensen says the documents come in PDF format, so you can view or download your statements from a computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
“Typically, the IRS retention period is seven years, so that’s how long TD Ameritrade will keep the documents online. I would strongly suggest clients save them at least that long as well,” Jensen says.
Reason #4: Easier to find. Misplacing mail happens all the time and is a real headache—documents may get lost or tossed or simply misfiled. With e-delivery, your statements are easier to locate because they’ll always be in the same place: securely in your account.
Reason #5: Reduce paper clutter. Ever feel overwhelmed by all the papers piling up everywhere? With e-delivery, the clutter is gone. You also have the option to download and save statements to your device, external hard drive, or even print them out if you feel the need.
Making the transition to paperless? Here are a few things to note before you ditch the shoebox and fire up the shredder. The statute of limitation on an IRS audit is six years. But there is no statute of limitation if a taxpayer files a fraudulent return or fails to file at all. Do you track work-related expenses? It’s generally okay to toss receipts for expenses under $75, with the exception of lodging. And if you’ve been hanging onto old pay stubs, there’s no need. You can toss them as soon as you’ve reconciled them against your W-2.
About those stock portfolios: Be sure to hang on to all of your brokerage confirmations and statements for securities and mutual fund purchases until three years after the security is sold. This is especially important if you have any paperwork on dividend reinvestment. If you’re setting your communication preferences to e-delivery, refer back to figure 1 above, and make sure your trade confirmations are set to paperless as well.
Reason #6: Save time. Having several years of paper statements means staying on top of document management. With e-delivery you save time otherwise spent filing, searching, and eventually shredding those paper documents.
“It’s much easier to keep track, especially when you have multi-page documents that can get out of order. The management is much, much simpler,” Jensen says.
Reason #7: Environmentally friendly. E-delivery is quick, secure, and more organized, but it’s also better for the environment. By eliminating paper, you’re saving trees, and it helps to reduce greenhouse gases that come with paper manufacturing, printing, and mailing.
So sign up today for e-delivery of your documents. It’s more convenient, makes document storage easier to manage, and is more secure than paper statements.
TD Ameritrade does not provide tax advice. We suggest consulting with a tax-planning professional with regard to your personal circumstances.
TD Ameritrade clients can sign up for electronic delivery of tax documents and stop receiving paper documents. Set your document delivery preferences here (requires login)
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