When I used to go to a new doctor for the first time, I would get extremely nervous. I hated it! It could have been something as a routine check up, but as soon as I walk through those doors, something would happen. How did I overcome this feeling? I found doctors that I trust and enjoy visiting.

I am pretty sure clients sometimes feel the same way about their CPA/accountants. After all, taxes and the IRS can be a scary topic. I can tell you from experience, building a relationship was the key.

The purpose: Your initial appointment with us is to assess your tax/business situation as well as get to know each other. We feel that it is very important to have a personal relationship with all of our clients. We want to know about you and your business (if applicable).

What should you bring? You will need to bring the federal and state tax return from the prior year. If you have a rental property (Schedule E) or a business (Schedule C, 1065, 1120, 1120S), it is very likely that you have capitalized assets over the years. There would be a depreciation schedule associated with these assets. Be sure that this schedule is included within your prior year tax return.

You will need to bring in any tax forms that you have received, such as W-2, 1099-INT (interest), 1099-DIV (dividend statements), 1099-B (brokerage account year-end statements), 1098 (mortgage interest statements), K-1's, etc. We do our best to compare the current year to the prior year tax return, but there are instances where you would receive something in one year and not another. If you do not report an item that was reported to the IRS, you will most likely receive a notice for it. To avoid all of that, be on top of your finances and have a general idea of what you think you should have. For instance, if you have an investment account and did not receive a 1099-B for it at year end, don't assume there was nothing to be reported. Contact you investment advisor and ask. We recommend that when you receive these documents, that you put them together in safe place so that when you need them, they will be available.

Above and beyond that, this initial meeting is to discuss your situation. Every client's specifics are different. Perhaps you were married, divorced, had children in the tax year. Be sure to tell us any important life changes.

We realize taxes can be overwhelming and stressful. We aim to make our appointments as useful and painless as possible. If you extended your returns for 2013, the deadlines are rapidly approaching. Feel free to contact our office to set up an appointment for our Wilmington, NC office.