Tax Preparation Checklist
Save time and money by getting prepared for tax season now.
Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a professional, being prepared for tax season can save you time and money (two of our favorite things).
So, rather than scrambling at the last minute to gather important facts and forms, which can lead to costly mistakes, let’s get organized. Here is a checklist to help you gather necessary information for your taxes.
Insider Tip: As soon as possible, designate a file folder or box to hold all incoming and collected tax forms and documents. As mail (and email attachments) arrive and you begin to gather documents and receipts, place everything in your designated place, which you can sort later.
• Last year’s federal tax returns (and state tax returns, if applicable.)
• Social Security Numbers – gather these from your spouse and dependents (children, and in some cases, elderly parents.)
• Bank account information – routing numbers and account numbers.
• W-2 form(s) – employers are required to send these by January 31st. So be on the lookout in your physical mail and your email for this important documentation.
• 1099 Forms – these relate self-employment income and will differ depending on the type of payment you received. For example, if you are paid by a third party, such as PayPal or Amazon, you will most likely get a 1099-K. While, contract work is typically reported on a 1099-MISC
• Social Security benefits (SSA-1099 form)
• Pension/IRA/annuity income (1099-R)
• Investment income
• Rental property income
• Taxable alimony payments
Deductions (otherwise known as “income adjustments”) can reduce the amount of your taxable income. Here is a list of common deductions. Be on the lookout (in mail/email) for the documentation for these.
• Retirement account contributions
• Property tax and mortgage interest (Tip: this important documentation is easy to miss in the mail, as it often arrives in an envelope with your regular mortgage payment stub/bill. So, be sure and open all correspondence from your mortgage company, especially at this time of year.)
• Charitable donations – be sure to save receipts.
• Educational expenses – students can claim educational expenses (Form 1098-T), as well as student loan interest.
• Alimony paid.
• Business expenses – if you are self-employed or earning rental income, be sure and gather documentation for expenses related to the cost of your business/rental.
Note that you can file your tax return as soon as January 31st.
For more information on taxes—saving time, money, reach out to our tax experts at 610-422-3530.