Whether you file your taxes yourself or you hire a professional tax preparer, here’s a checklist of information and documentation to help you make sure you have all the documents you need to file your taxes quickly and easily.
Before you begin, go through the checklist below. Though we tried to include as much as we can in this list, know that not all items may apply to you and it’s also possible that there may be forms not on this list that you need to provide. Here’s a list of deductions for individuals and here’s one for businesses. To make sure you don’t miss anything, download the PDF version on our printables library page so you can check off documents as you locate them.
Who needs to file taxes? Depending on your income, age, and filing status, you may be required to file taxes – even if you don’t owe anything. And even if you aren’t required to file taxes, there are still tax credits and deductions that may benefit you. So take a moment to familiarize yourself with the rules of filing taxes so that you can make the most of them this tax season.
When should you file your income tax return by? The deadline for filing taxes in 2023 is April 18th.
Tax Preparation Checklist
If you’re filing for only yourself, you only need to provide your information. But if you’re filing a joint return with your partner, you will need to provide their information, and if you have children, you’ll need to provide their information as well. If you’re filing for your business, make sure you put down your business name, business address and the correct tax identification numbers.
- Your name as it appears on your Social Security Card
- Valid picture ID (ie. driver’s license)
- Home address
- Date of birth
- Tax ID numbers (TIN or EIN), if applicable
- A copy of last year’s state and federal tax returns
- Your bank account number and routing number if you opt to receive your refund by direct deposit
Proof of Income
If you’re employed, you’ll probably have to provide your W-2 form. If you’ve done some contractual work, you might need to provide a 1099 form. If you’re employed and also did contractual work, then you’ll need to provide both forms. It’s important that you provide documents for any sort of income such as lottery winnings, transactions involving cryptocurrency, dividends, or alimony received.
- W-2 form
- 1099 forms – remember that there are many types of 1099, they only differ by suffix. Refer to this page for a complete list of 1099 forms and instructions.
For Businesses and Self-Employed
If you own a business, you’ll need to provide the following documents.
- All business income
- Transportation expenses
- Rental property expenses (including utilities)
- Operational expenses
- Travel expenses
- Any expense that factor into cost of goods
Deductions and Credits
- Retirement account (401K or IRA) contributions
- Child care expenses: Provider’s name, address, TIN, and amount you paid
- Education expenses: 1098-E form for student loan interest and 1098-T for tuition costs
- Home ownership expenses (ie. home renovations or qualifying energy-efficient improvements)
- Residential Energy Credit
- Medical and dental expenses (but only if the total is more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income)
- Health Savings Account contributions
- Classroom expenses (this only applies to teachers)
- Charitable donations
- Property Taxes or Mortgage Interest Deduction (1098 mortgage statement and property tax bill)
- State and local taxes (if you kept all your receipts, the total amount of taxes you paid is also deductible). For individuals, you can use this Sales Tax Deduction Calculator.
- Stimulus payments (if applicable)
- Real estate taxes paid (copies of closing statements if you’ve purchased a home or any property)
- Personal property taxes
- Vehicle license fees based on value of vehicle
- Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
Proof of Losses
- If you invested in stocks that became worthless last year, you can include it when you file. Make sure you mention the date of purchase and original purchase price.
- Any record of money you’re owed but not paid back.
- Gambling Losses
This tax prep checklist covers preparation issues common to most filers, but taxes are different for each of us. That’s why it’s important to tailor your tax prep checklist to your own unique situation and take the time to understand what deductions and credits you may be eligible for. That way, you’ll have a better chance of getting the biggest refund possible!
Download a printable PDF copy of the tax prep checklist below!
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This article is intended to provide general financial education information. It does not give personalized tax, investment, legal or other business and professional advice. Consult a tax professional who can provide personal recommendations before taking any action.
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“Do I Have to File Taxes?” Taxoutreach.org, https://www.taxoutreach.org/blog/do-i-have-to-file-taxes/. Accessed January 19, 2023.
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