for YOUR INDIVIDUAL & business tax needs

Tax preparation checklist

documents that you will need to file your personal income tax return:

Getting started on your tax return can be overwhelming. Start by going through this list and gathering any of the relevant documents together in one place. If there is a document on this list that you cannot locate, make a note of it and we will help you track it down.

To get started on your tax return, gather these documents:

  • Last year's federal and state tax returns.
  • W-2s for wages, salaries, tips and pensions. Employers have until the end of January to issue these statements.
  • 1098s for mortgage interest paid.
  • If you bought your house last year you will need the closing statement.
  • 1099s for interest, dividends, state tax refunds, retirement plan distributions, unemployment and other payments.
  • Retirement plan contribution statements.
  • K-1s from partnerships, S corporations, estates and trusts.
  • Social Security numbers for yourself, your spouse and all dependents.
  •  If you received health coverage through one of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, you will receive Form 1095-A documenting your coverage.

If you itemize deductions to complete Schedule A, you'll need records and receipts for:

  • Medical and dental expenses.
  • This includes prescriptions, doctor office visit payments, dental care costs, hospital bills, medical insurance premiums as long as they aren't paid at work via pre-tax dollars, and the mileage to and from physicians' offices.
  • Taxes you paid, such as state and local income or sales taxes, real estate taxes and personal property taxes.
  • Mortgage interest and points. This is on the Form 1098 or substitute form noted previously.
  • Charitable contributions, regardless of whether as cash, credit card, other assets or household goods and clothing.
  • Casualty and theft losses.
  • Work related costs, both for unreimbursed employee expenses and money spent searching for a new job.
  • Investment expenses.
  • Gambling losses.

If you're a small business owner and are filing Schedule C, you'll need all receipts and documentation pertaining to your company, including:

  • Income statements, such as the 1099-MISC mentioned earlier as well as payment stubs for amounts not required to be reported on a 1099.
  • Home size and size of space used as a home office.
  • Self-employed health insurance payments.
  • Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE and other self-employed pension plan contributions.
  • Details on business use of your auto.

questions to ask

In addition to getting your filing documents in order, you also need consider these questions:

  • Have you received any correspondence from the Internal Revenue Service or state/local tax agencies?
  • Did your marital status change during the year?
  • If you divorced, did you receive or pay any alimony?
  • Are you supporting anyone not living with you?
  • Did you incur child care or dependent care expenses?
  • Did you or any member of your household pay college expenses?
  • Did you buy a new home last year?
  • Did you make any major improvements to your home?
  • Did you sell, refinance or face any foreclosure transactions on your personal residence?
  • Do you own a second residence or any other real estate?
  • Did you move in connection with a job?
  • Were you a resident of, or did you have income in, more than one state during the year?
  • Did you make any large purchases, such as a vehicle?
  • Did you have any nonresidential debt that was canceled?
  • Did you serve in the military?
  • If so, did you receive combat pay?

Source: Don't Mess with Taxes