Contrary to popular believe tax preparation does not start in January or even February. Good tax preparation occurs throughout the year. Proper planning and organization is important if you want to maximize your deductions. Keeping more money in your pocket should be your number one priority throughout the year. Being organized with a checklist is one of the easiest way to manage the document gathering process. Once you are organized and ready to move forward, you will find that everything begins to fall into place. Here are some of the details that should be included on your tax preparation checklist.
Tax Preparation for Personal Information
- Your Social Security number and date of birth
- Your spouse’s Social Security number (if married) and date of birth
- Social Security numbers for any dependents and date of birth
- Physical address, email address for all and telephone numbers
Tax Preparation for Income Information
- W-2 Forms from all employers you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) worked for during the past tax year.
- Savings and Investments reporting forms including Form 1099-INT, Form 1099-DIV, Form 1099-B, Form 1099-S or Schedule K-1. (Excel copies of brokerage trades if possible) Please include all pages of the 1099-B.
- Statements of income from retirement distributions or Social Security Payments including Form 1099-R or Form 1099-SSA
- Any Cancellation of Debt, Form 1099-A or 1099-C
- Income from local and state tax refunds from the prior year.
- Business income (accounting records for any business that you own)
- Unemployment income
- Rental property income
- 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)
- Closing documents on any real estate transaction you had during the year, including purchase, sale, refinancing or foreclosure – the final settlement [HUD] statements
Tax Preparation for Credits and Deductions
- Education expenses such as 1098-T tuition expense
- Interest paid on student loans
- IRA contributions
- Rental Property Expense and cost basis
- Child care expenses
- Adoption costs
- Alimony paid (need Social Security number of recipient)
- Charitable contributions/donations
- Casualty and theft losses
- Qualified business expenses
- Medical expenses including medical savings account info
- Job and moving expenses