Last Minute Checklist for Getting Your Taxes Done Right
Before you head out to file your taxes before the tax deadline, you’ll need to grab more than just your wallet to pay your tax professional for their services. There are a large number of items you need to bring with you when filing your taxes. In many cases, these items are essential to filling out your tax return. You’ll need documents, receipts, identification, and various other pieces of information.
If you have already filed your taxes, use this list as a checklist to make sure you didn’t leave anything off your tax return. If you did, you can amend your tax return.
Your personal information
You’ll be sharing personal, sensitive information with your tax professional. That is exactly why it is a good idea to go to a reputable professional. Check reviews on the Better Business Bureau, and check their credentials.
Here are the various pieces of personal information you’ll need:
- Your social security number and full name.
- You’ll need your spouse’s social security number and full name. If you are filing jointly, your spouse will need to come along to sign the return as well.
- To play it safe, you may want to bring along your social security card as some tax professionals may require it.
- Date of birth for you and your spouse.
- Bring the copies of your tax return from the last three years. Your tax professional can check for errors and also possibly use past information to help fill out this year’s return.
- You may need a photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport.
If you were received income…
You’ll be reporting all of the income you received throughout the previous year. In many cases, if you were getting taxes withheld from your paycheck, you may be eligible for a refund.
Here is what you’re going to need to report all of your income:
- Your W-2 forms for any place you worked that you have received from your employer. Your employer should have mailed these to you by the end of January. If you have worked somewhere in the past year and did not receive this form, check with the employer. Also, if you worked multiple jobs, you will need to report all of them.
- If you searched for a new job during the year, you’ll need to know the amount you spent on your job search. These expenses include employment and outplacement agency fees, the cost of preparing a resume, and the cost of traveling to search for this job.
- Your unemployment records and the amount of income you received from unemployment.
- Income received from serving jury duty.
- Any gambling income or large prizes or awards you may have won throughout the year.
- Any other income you can think of.
- Any income you received from interest, such as Forms 1099-INT or 1099-DIV.
- Any foreign income earned.
- Bring with the total amount of the costs for your employment such as a uniform or tools. This can possibly be deducted if you itemize deductions.
If you have children or other dependents…
If you have children or dependents, you will want to report this as you may be eligible for various tax credits.
Here is what you’ll need to bring if you have children or other dependents:
- Know their social security number for your children and dependents along with their full name. Be sure the name matches their social security card.
- Dates of birth for your children or other dependents.
- Childcare records including the business tax identification number of your child care provider and how much you paid for childcare.
- Expenses related to the adoption of a child.
If you are self-employed…
Being self-employed can allow great flexibility for a working environment, but it definitely can get a little tricky during tax season. It is important to bring all important documents so you can have your self employed tax deductions in line.
Here is what you will need if you are self-employed:
- Any 1099 forms you have received in the mail from contract work you have done.
- If your office is in your home, bring along this information as well. It is possible you can deduct a portion of your home costs or rent if you work from home.
- Any business expenses you paid throughout the year.
- Total business miles driven throughout the year.
If you attended college…
If you have attended college during the previous year or paid student loans, here are the items to bring:
- Form 1098-T from your university, which indicated how much you paid for tuition.
- The cost of essential books and supplies you were required to purchase through your university.
- Form 1098-E from your student loan providers if you have paid interest on a student loan.
- Information on any scholarships you received.
If you are divorced…
- If you paid alimony during the past year, you’ll need the amount you paid and the social security number of your ex-spouse.
- If you received alimony, you’ll need the amount and your ex-husband’s or ex-wife’s name.
- Any documents proving that your ex-husband or ex-wife is allowing you to claim your child on your tax return.
If you paid for health care costs and insurance…
- If you are claiming your medical expenses, you will need receipts for this.
- If you are self-employed and paid your own insurance, the cost of the insurance.
- Any health care reimbursements you received.
If you tragically experienced a theft or disaster…
- If you were a victim of a theft, bring all documents proving this.
- If you live in a region that was a federally declared disaster area, bring proof of that.
- Bring costs of clean-up expenses, lost property, and rebuilding costs of an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane, or tornado.
More Documents You Will Need
Here are more items you’ll need when you file your taxes:
- If you own your home: Documents containing your mortgage payment and interest.
- If you owned rental property: All of the records of the income you received and records of any expenses.
- If you have an IRA: The amount you contributed to your IRA and the value of your IRA.
- If you are retired: Your social security income and any pension income.
- If you donated to charity: Bring any receipts for any charitable donations you gave throughout the year, such as dropping clothes off at a Salvation Army.
- If you want to receive a direct deposit from the IRS: Bring a check that will have your bank name, routing number, and account number for your refund.
What are other important items are missing from this list?