Tax Preparation Checklist
As the tax filing deadline of April 15 quickly approaches, here’s a checklist to help you get organized. Although preparing for tax season can be daunting, once you are organized you will find that things begin to fall into place. Make sure to consult with your tax advisor and allow them to guide you – there are often changes which will impact your 1040 return. Listed below are some items to gather.
The IRS needs to know who is filing the tax return, as well as how many people are covered on it. To make this easy, they require:
- Your Social Security number
- Your spouse’s Social Security number (if married)
- Social Security numbers for any dependents
The following documents will help you prepare all the income information that you need to file a federal tax return:
- W-2 Forms from all employers you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) worked for during the past tax year.
- 1099 Forms if you (or your spouse) completed contract work and earned more than $600.
- Investment income information (including: interest income, dividend income, proceeds from the sale of bonds or stocks, and income from foreign investments).
- Income from local and state tax refunds from the prior year.
- Business income (accounting records for any business that you own)
- Unemployment income
- Pension income
- Rental property income
- Social Security benefits
- 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)
The following adjustments can help reduce how much you owe in taxes, and in turn, increase your chance of receiving a tax refund:
- Homebuyer tax credit
- Green energy credits
- IRA contributions
- Mortgage interest
- Student loan interest
- Medical Savings Account (MSA) contributions
- Self-employed health insurance
- Moving expenses
Credits and Deductions
There are many tax credits and tax deductions for various expenses, which are designed to help lower the amount of tax that an individual has to pay:
- Education costs
- Childcare costs
- Adoption costs
- Charitable contributions/donations
- Casualty and theft losses
- Qualified business expenses
- Medical expenses
- Job and moving expenses
Are you interested in having your tax refund directly deposited into your bank account? If so, you will need to provide two things:
- Your bank account number
- The bank’s routing number
Items on the above list were provided via: www.irs.com/articles/tax-form-checklist
Although the chances for an audit are low for many, here are a few items that may increase the odds:
- Earning a high income
- Taking large charitable deductions
- Being self employed
- Taking large deductions relative to your income
- Having large hobby losses
As always, consult with your tax advisor with any tax related questions. Organizing your information up front will make the tax preparation process more efficient and help you avoid last minute frustration.