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Get Ready to File Your Taxes

The tax season is officially here and it is time to get yourself ready. Everyone’s tax situation is different, but here is a listing of common tax forms (denoted in bold) and records you should have prior to filing your tax return. Start checking off the list!

Personal Information

  • Your social security number or tax ID number
  • Your spouse’s full name, social security number or tax ID number, and date of birth
  • Identity Protection PIN, if one has been issued to you, your spouse, or your dependent by the IRS
  • Bank routing and account numbers to receive your refund by direct deposit or pay your balance due
  • List of addresses of any properties you own as well as the dates they were bought and sold

Dependent(s) Information 

  • Dates of birth and social security numbers or tax ID numbers
  • Childcare records (including the provider’s tax ID number), if applicable
  • Income of dependents and of other adults in your home

Sources of Income

  • Employed - W-2, which tells how much you earned in the past year and how much you already paid in taxes (If you had more than one job, you might have more than one W-2)
  • Self-Employed
    1. 1099-NEC (non-employee compensation), 1099-MISC and Schedule K-1 (company ownership or partnership income), and income records for amounts not otherwise reported
    2. Records of all business expenses including business use assets (cost, date placed in service), home office expenses
  • Rental Income- Income and expenses, asset information for depreciation
  • Retirement Income
    1. 1099-R for pension, IRA and annuity income
    2. Traditional IRA basis (amounts you contributed to IRA that were already taxed)
    3. Social security income - SSA-1099
  • Savings and Investment Income
    1. Interest and dividend income - 1099-INT, 1099-DIV and 1099-OID
    2. Income from sales of stock or other property - 1099-B (securities), 1099-S (real estate)
    3. Reimbursements from health savings account - 1099-SA and long-term care - 1099-LTC
    4. Investment interest expenses
    5. Transactions involving cryptocurrency (may be reported on 1099-MISC)
  • Other Income and Losses - W-2G for gambling income/loss, royalty income, prizes, alimony paid/received with ex-spouse’s name and SSN, state tax refund
  • Estimated Tax Payments - 1040-ES for all income not subject to withholding (self-employment, interest/dividends, rental)

Types of Deductions

  • Home Ownership - 1098 mortgage interest statement, real estate and personal property tax records, receipts for energy-saving home improvements
  • Charitable Donations -Cash and non-cash donated to charitable organizations; receipts required for amounts of $250 and above
  • Medical Expenses – Amounts paid for healthcare and insurance; and to doctors, dentists and hospitals for unreimbursed expenses
  • Health Insurance1095A, proof of enrollment in Marketplace health insurance coverage
  • Childcare Expenses – Fees paid to licensed day care center for infant/preschooler, amounts paid to babysitter for child under 13 while you work, expenses paid through dependent care flexible spending account at work
  • Education Expenses1098-T from educational institutions, receipts for qualified educational expenses, scholarship or fellowship information, 1098-E showing student loan interest
  • K-12 Educator Expenses – Receipts for classroom expenses
  • State and Local Taxes – Amount of state and local income or sales tax paid and invoice showing vehicle sales tax paid and/or personal property tax on vehicles
  • Retirement and Other Savings5498 showing IRA contributions; 5498-SA showing HSA contributions.  Special note: If you have made a nondeductible IRA contribution, it’s important for you or your tax professional to file form 8606.  By filling out this form, the IRS will be able to track the after-tax money inside of your IRA and prevent your contribution from being taxed twice
  • Federally Declared Disaster – Records to support property losses, rebuilding/repair costs, insurance reimbursements

Last Year’s Tax Return

If you are using the same preparer as the previous year, they should have a copy of your last year’s federal and state tax return. If not, find your old copy and have it ready with your other tax items. Being able to reference your previous return can help you see what you filed last year, so you don't overlook something this year. 

Plan for Your Refund

If you expect to get a refund this year, you may want to take some time to consider what you plan to do with your refund once you receive it. You have the option to apply your payment towards your tax bill next year if you believe you will owe money. This can be a good idea for those who pay estimated taxes throughout the year as it can often put a chunk towards your first installment.

Alternatively, you can choose to send the money directly to a checking or savings account, or contribute it to an IRA, health savings account, or education account. If you plan to split the funds between accounts, you will need to complete form 8888.

Source: H&R Block, Forbes.