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Tax Materials Checklist

Whether you prepare your own tax return or work with a certified public accountant, gathering everything you will need may feel overwhelming.  This list covers all the major items you will want to have on-hand before you start.

Tax Materials Checklist.docx

The Basics

  • Social Security numbers and dates of birth for you, your spouse and dependents.
  • Banking information, including financial institution name, routing number, account number and type of account (e.g., checking or savings) if you would like to receive your refund by direct deposit or pay a balance due by direct debit.
  • Forms W-2 from all employers.
  • All Forms 1099 (1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B, 1099-R, SSA-1099, RRB-1099, 1099-G, 1099-MISC, 1099-S, 1099-A, 1099-C, etc.).
  • List of all estimated tax payments made, both federal and state, during the year as well as details of additional or supplemental payments made this year to date.
  • Records of amounts paid for state income, real estate or personal property taxes during the year.
  • Form 1098 received from mortgage lenders
    • If any mortgage debt was forgiven or cancelled (such as in a short sale or foreclosure), Form 1098-C and/or Form 1099-A.
  • Settlement sheets from the purchase of real property or the closing or refinancing of a related loan (HUD-1, etc.).
  • If an extension has been filed, copies of the extension along with confirmation of payments made with the extensions.
  • Any other information, notices (e.g., IRS or state tax notices), receipts, etc. of an unusual nature relating to your employment, business, investments or taxes.

Home

  • If you made any residential energy-efficient improvements or purchases involving solar, wind, geothermal or fuel energy sources, or purchased a motor vehicle, watercraft or aircraft, the invoices/receipts, and other records describing the specific items purchased, amounts paid and dates delivered or installed.
  • If you had any household employees (e.g., nanny or housekeeper), copies of their Forms W-2 plus records of all state unemployment taxes paid during the year.

Dependents

  • If you paid for childcare for a child under the age of 13 so you or your spouse can work, you will need additional information for each provider to claim the child and dependent care tax credit:
    • Provider’s name and federal tax ID number (which may be a social security number, if the provider is an individual),
    • Complete street address, and
    • The amount paid for each child to that provider during the year.

Education

  • If you paid college or other post-secondary school tuition and fees, Form 1098-T (and related statements from the school or other records of amounts paid).
  • If you paid student loan interest during the year, Form(s) 1098-E.

Employment/Income

  • If you incurred substantial unreimbursed employee business or investment-related expenses, records of the amounts paid or incurred.
  • Royalty income and expenses, if applicable.
  • Farm income and expenses, if applicable.
  • If you are self-employed:
    • Schedule of income from all sources, including copies of any Forms 1099-MISC received.
    • If you accept credit cards in your business, copies of all Forms 1099-K received.
    • Summary of expenses by type. 
      • Note, if you use accounting software, consider preparing reports with both totals and details of your income and expenses.
    • Copies of all Forms 1099-MISC issued to contractors along with the related Form 1096.
    • If you pay payroll, copies of Forms W-3 and associated Forms W-2, 941, 940 and state quarterly unemployment returns filed for the year.
    • Receipts or invoices for all business assets purchased over $100.

Investments

  • If you sold stock, you will need the purchase date and cost basis information.  Check with your broker to see if they have a schedule already prepared or in an electronic format.
  • K-1 schedules from Partnerships, S-Corporations, Trusts, Estates, LLCs, LLPs, etc., along with any accompanying explanations or instructions.
    • NOTE:  If losses are reported on the K-1, you will need the history of amounts invested to calculate basis to determine how much of the losses will be deductible.
  • Foreign bank account information (e.g., name, address, account type, etc.) for all accounts that you had signature authority over last year and a list of all foreign financial assets owned during the year.
  • If you own rental properties, prepare a schedule for each property that shows:
    • Total rents received.
    • Amounts paid for mortgage interest (report on Form 1098) and other interest (e.g., credit cards used solely for the rental property).
    • Summary of expenses by type.
    • If you use a property manager, they often provide a report showing income and expense details, but additional amounts paid by you out-of-pocket directly to other vendors are also deductible.

Retirement

  • Details of rollovers, withdrawals or other transactions involving IRAs (e.g., transaction confirmation, account statements, etc.).
  • If you retired during the year, your employer's letter describing your retirement options, benefits and/or their tax treatment (if available).
  • A complete list of all gifts made in excess of $13,000 during the year to any individual.

Donations

  • For all charitable contributions, documentation is required to claim a deduction, such as:
    • Checks, bank records or receipts for contributions under $250.
    • Letters or receipts from charitable organizations for contributions of $250 or more.
    • Appraisal for noncash charitable contributions over $5,000 (this is required to be attached to your federal tax return).
    • If the total donated value of non-cash charitable contributions (i.e., food, clothing, household items, appliances, etc.) is over $500, you will need to report the following additional information on your federal return: 
      • a description of each gift,
      • the date donated,
      • the charitable organization's name and address,
      • the method used to determine the value of the donated item(s), and
      • the estimated original purchase cost and date acquired of the item(s).

Medical

  • If you incurred substantial unreimbursed medical expenses, or paid health or long-term care insurance premiums (other than through an employer plan), records of the amounts paid and to whom.
  • For Health Savings Accounts, details of contributions made and distributions received during the year, along with Form 1099-SA.

If you are working with a certified public accountant (CPA), here are a few additional items you may need:

  • Proof of your identity, such as a current (i.e. unexpired) driver’s license.
  • Tax organizer (even if not completed).
  • Signed Engagement Letter.
  • Signed Representation Letter, if applicable.
  • Copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for the last three (3) years.