Whether you prepare your taxes yourself or get help from a tax preparer online or in-store, knowing what documents you'll need at hand can help prevent tax filing errors and possibly lower your tax bill.
The federal tax filing deadline for individuals has been extended to May 17, 2021. Quarterly estimated tax payments are still due on April 15, 2021. For additional questions and the latest information on the tax deadline change, visit our “IRS Announced Federal Tax Filing and Payment Deadline Extension” blog post.
For information on the third coronavirus relief package, please visit our “American Rescue Plan: What Does it Mean for You and a Third Stimulus Check” blog post.
What documents do I need to file my taxes?
In addition to proof of your identity, and the identities of your family members, documents you should bring to a tax preparer include:
- Social Security documents
- Income statements such as W-2s and MISC-1099s
- Tax forms that report other types of income, such as Schedule K-1 for trusts, partnership and S corporations
- Tax deduction records
- Expense receipts
1. Social Security details
Among the most important things a CPA, tax preparer, or tax preparation software will need to file your tax return are the full names and Social Security numbers, or tax identification numbers, of you, your spouse, and your dependents.
The easiest way to ensure all spellings and numbers will be correct on your tax return is to provide:
- The Social Security cards for all people included on your tax return.
- Another form of identification to prove that the Social Security information is yours. Any government-issued ID that includes a photograph will work, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state identification card.
2. Income statements
Even though your employer should report your income directly to the IRS, your tax preparer will also need the information on your W-2 form(s) to complete your tax forms.
- If you hold more than one job, you'll need to provide W-2s from each employer.
- If your employer makes a mistake on your W-2 and issues you a form W-2c, bring the corrected W-2c, as well.
Other income statements your tax preparer will need to file your return include your:
- W-2G, if you had certain types of gambling winnings
- 1099-R, if you received distributions from a pension, annuity, IRA, insurance contract and other retirement accounts.
3. Other types of income
If you're self-employed or you receive income from other sources, you'll need to report that information on your tax return. If you've received any of the following IRS forms in the mail, share them with your tax preparer.
- Form 1099 and Form 1099-MISC for self-employment income
- Form 1099-A for foreclosure of a home
- Form 1099-B for proceeds from broker transactions
- Form 1099-C for cancellation of debt
- Form 1099-DIV for dividends and distributions
- Form 1099-G for unemployment income or a state tax refund
- Form 1099-INT or Form 1099-OID for interest income
- Form 1099-K for business or rental income processed by third-party networks
- Form 1099-LTC for Long Term Care reimbursements
- Form 1099-PATR for patronage dividends
- Form 1099-Q for payments from qualified education programs
- Form 1099-QA for distributions from an ABLE account
- Form 1099-S proceeds from the sales of property
- Form 1099-SA for Health Savings Account and Medical Savings Account distributions
- Form SSA-1099 for Social Security benefits
- Form RRB-1099 for railroad retirement benefits
4. Tax deduction documents
- Form 1098, your Mortgage Interest Statement, which comes from the company that services your mortgage loan
- Form 1098-C for the donation of an automobile, boat or aircraft worth more than $500 to a tax-exempt organization
- Form 1098-E for interest you paid on a student loan during the preceding year
- Form 1098-T, the Tuition Statement, documenting how much you paid in tuition for post-secondary education
- Form 1040ES copies, for a record of estimated tax payments made
5. Receipts for expenses
If you'd like to deduct expenses from your personal or business income taxes, share your receipts for those expenses with your tax preparer. Tax-deductible personal expenses include:
If you're self-employed, many business expenses are also tax deductible. To document both personal and business expenses, make sure you have all your receipts, invoices, medical bills, and mileage logs.
It's also a good idea to have a copy of your latest tax return on hand. Your tax return will serve not only as a roadmap to your typical income and deductions, but also point out any major changes that may have occurred in the last year and any possible discrepancies between your returns.
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