As we enter the tax season, many are preparing to file their taxes.
Whether you are preparing your taxes yourself or using a tax preparation professional, you’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary forms to complete your taxes.

Here is a list of the most common documents you would need so that you can be organized and ready to hit the ground running in the coming tax season

As a note: this is not an exhaustive list. If you receive additional information from an institution then always be sure to keep those documents

Income Documents

The following documents will help you prepare all the income information that you need to file a federal tax return:

  • Copies of W-2 Forms from any/all employers you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) worked for during the filing tax year.
  • Any 1099 Forms you or your spouse may have received for contract work if you earned more than $600
  • Any tax documents received from banks, or investing companies regarding investment income. This includes income gained from investment/account paid interest, the sale of any stock/bonds and any income attained from foreign investments or promotional funds received from opening accounts (:( sorry).
  • Any refunds you received from state and local taxes in the prior year – yeah I know this one really sucks … you have to pay taxes on the overpayment of taxes you made last year. But I digress.
  • Any information you have on the recording on your business income (if you have your own business).
  • Unemployment income
  • Income received from a rental property
  • Social Security benefits
  • Miscellaneous income (including jury duty, lottery and gambling winnings, Form 1099-MISC for prizes and awards, and Form 1099-MSA for distributions from medical savings accounts)

Documentation For Your Tax Provider

If you are using a tax professional, he or she will want a little extra information to get your returns filed.

  • Your bank account and routing number if you choose direct deposit of your tax refund (if you have one coming)
  • Insurance coverage document that shows you were covered over the course of the year
  • Your previous tax return – this is useful for your tax preparer to see your previous returns, and is also helpful if you want to efile yourself as many companies ask for the previous year’s adjusted gross income(AGI) to verify your identity

Credits and Deduction Documents/Receipts

There are many tax credits and tax deductions that you might be eligible for based on your income or expenses that you incurred throughout the tax year. Sharing the receipts and details of these expenses can help lower the amount of tax you have to pay:

  • Tax documentation from your school for education costs (tuition etc.) paid
  • Receipts of reports for childcare/daycare expenses – note that receipts from daycare must include school’s EIN so make sure to ask if you use an at-home daycare.
  • Adoption costs
  • Charitable contributions/donations – you’ll need the receipt from the donation facility or your church so you can input the correct information.
  • Casualty and theft losses
  • Qualified business expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Job and moving expenses
  • Homebuyer tax credit
  • Green energy credits

Interest Payment Documents

The following adjustments can help reduce how much you owe in taxes, and in turn, increase your chance of receiving a tax refund:

  • IRA contributions – your investment institution should provide you will detailed documentation on how much you contributed.
  • Mortgage interest – home loan 1098 form from your mortgage provider shows your home loan interest paid
  • Student loan interest – student loan 1098 that shows student loan interest paid
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions
  • Self-employed health insurance
  • Moving expenses

There you have it.

An easy shortlist of the top documents you’ll want to gather to prepare your taxes.

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