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Tax Preparation Checklist

Before you begin to prepare your income tax return, go through the following Tax Preparation Checklist to take note of the areas that apply to you. This will help you gather all the documentation needed to prepare and file your tax return.

Tax Preparation Documentation Checklist

Personal Information

  • Social Security numbers and dates of birth for you, your spouse, your dependents
  • Copies of last year’s tax return for you and your spouse (for reference)
  • Bank account number and routing number, for tax refund direct deposit

Information about your income.

  • W-2 forms for you and your spouse
  • 1099-C forms for cancellation of debt
  • 1099-G forms for unemployment income, or state or local tax refunds
  • 1099-MISC forms for you and your spouse (for any independent contractor work)
  • 1099-R, Form 8606 for payments/distributions from IRAs or retirement plans
  • 1099-S forms for income from sale of a property
  • 1099-INT, -DIV, -B, or K-1s for investment or interest income
  • SSA-1099 for Social Security benefits received
  • Alimony received
  • Business or farming income – profit/loss statement, capital equipment info.
  • Rental property income and expenses: profit/loss statement, suspended loss info.
  • Prior year installment sale information – Forms 6252, principal and interest collected during the year, SSN and address for payer
  • Miscellaneous income: jury duty, gambling, Savings Accounts, scholarships, etc.

Adjustments to your income.

This following items can help reduce the amount of your income that is being taxed, which can increase your refund, or lower your taxes owed.

  • Form 1098-E for student loan interest paid (or loan statements for student loans)
  • Form 1098-T, or receipts/canceled checks for tuition paid (for post-high school)
  • Teachers: Paid expense receipts or cancelled checks for classroom supplies, etc.
  • Records of IRA contributions made during the year
  • Energy-efficient home improvements expense receipts (solar, windows, etc.)
  • Records of Medical Savings Account (MSA) contributions
  • Self-employed health insurance payment records
  • Records of moving expenses for new job or first job
  • Alimony paid, attorney fees related to settlement amount and tax advice
  • Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE, and other self-employed pension plans

> If you itemize your deductions:

Deductions and Credits

The government offers many tax deductions and credits that help lower the tax burden on tax filers. The following documents help you get the deductions and credits you are qualified to receive.

  • Child care costs: provider’s name, address, tax ID, and amount paid
  • Education costs: Form 1098-T, education expenses
  • Adoption costs: SSN of child; records of legal, medical and transportation costs
  • Forms 1098: Mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance (PMI), points you paid
  • Investment interest expenses
  • Charitable donations: cash amounts, official charity receipts, canceled checks; value of donated property; miles driven and out-of-pocket expenses
  • Medical and dental expense records
  • Casualty and theft losses: amount of damage, insurance reimbursements
  • Miscellaneous tax deductions: union dues, unreimbursed employee expenses (uniforms, supplies, seminars, continuing education, publications, travel, etc.)
  • Records of home business expenses, home size/office size, home expenses
  • Rental property income/expenses: profit/loss statement, suspended loss information

Taxes you have paid.

  • State and local income taxes paid
  • Estimated tax payments made during the year (self-employed)
  • Real estate taxes paid
  • Personal property taxes
  • Vehicle license fees based on value of vehicle

Other information.

  • Prior-year refund applied to current year, any amount paid with an extension
  • Foreign bank account information: location, name of bank, account number, peak value of account during the year