Getting organized before filing your taxes can save you time and frustration down the road. Here are the key things you need for tax preparation this season. 

Personal Information: the name, Social Security Number, and date of birth for yourself as well as your spouse and any dependents.

Income Information: anything that pays you, or your spouse. 

  • Jobs (W-2), 
  • Investment income (Form 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B, K-1, etc) 
  • State and local tax refunds and/or unemployment
  • Social Security (SS) benefits
  • Rental property income and expenses
  • IRA/Pension distributions
  • Taxable alimony received 
  • Business or farming income — profit/loss statements and capital equipment information
  • Income from the sale of property
  • Miscellaneous Income (e.g., jury duty, gambling winnings, medical savings account (MSA), scholarships, etc.,)

Adjustments to Income: expenses/contributions that can reduce the amount of taxed income.

  • IRA contributions
  • Energy credits
  • Student loan interest
  • MSA contributions
  • Moving expenses
  • Self-employed health insurance premium payments
  • Keith, SEP, SIMPLE, and other self-employed pension plans
  • Alimony paid
  • Education expenses.

Itemized Tax Deductions and Credits: items that lower your tax burden.

  • Child care costs (Necessary information: providers, name, address, tax ID, and amount paid)
  • Education costs (form 1098T) and education expenses
  • Adoption costs (Necessary information: child’s name, SSN legal/medical/transportation costs)
  • Investment interests expense
  • Charitable donations (cash amounts, value of property, miles driven, and out of pocket expenses)
  • Casualty and theft losses (amount of damage and insurance reimbursements)
  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Miscellaneous — union dues, unreimbursed employee expenses (e.g., uniforms, supplies, seminars, continuing education, publications, travel, etc)

If you have already paid state and local income taxes or any real estate taxes, it’s important to keep a record of these transactions so you don’t overpay. Personal property taxes can also be claimed on your taxes. If you have received a refund from the previous year and asked it to be applied to future returns, it will be important to retain that information as well. 

Being organized will help your filing process go much smoother and it will assist you in providing the necessary documentation should the need arise later.