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Checklist for compiling and organizing your tax documents
1) Personal data
Social Security numbers (including spouse and children). These are required to qualify for exemptions.
Your child care provider's tax I.D. or Social Security number. This is critical to qualify for childcare credits.
2) Employment & income data
W-2 forms for this year. These come from your employer.
Partnership and trust income. Data for these should come from an accountant or financial institution.
Pensions and annuities. Data should come from the financial institution, insurance company selling the annuity or pension fund.
Alimony received. Tax information should come from your ex-spouse or his representative. The former spouse will want your Social Security number to be able to deduct any alimony payments.
Jury duty pay. Data should come from the court clerk.
Gambling and lottery winnings. This data should come from the casino or lottery authority. Form W-2G
Prizes and awards. Data should come from the award givers. Form 1099-MISC.
Scholarships and fellowships. Data should come from the administrators of these programs. Form 1099-MISC.
State and local income tax refunds. Data should come from the taxing authorities.
3) Homeowner/renter data
Residential address(es) for this year. This is your responsibility.
Mortgage interest: Form 1098. Your lender will send you this data.
Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S. Your lender or closing agent should send you this.
Second mortgage interest paid. Your lender should send you this data.
Real estate taxes paid. Your county clerk or lender should send you this data.
Rent paid during tax year. You need to generate this data.
Moving expenses. If an employer reimburses your expenses, the employer will furnish you with data on the moving costs.
4) Financial assets
Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID. Financial institutions will provide this data.
Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV. This will come from this company paying the dividends.
Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B. Your brokers should furnish this data.
Tax refunds & unemployment compensation: Form 1099-G. The issuing agencies should send this information.
Miscellaneous income including rent: Form 1099-MISC. This should come from whoever distributes the income.
Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R. Whoever sends out your pension checks should send you this data on Form 1099-R.
5) Financial liabilities
Auto loans and leases (account numbers and car value) if vehicle used for business. You can get this data from the lender or leasing company.
Student loan interest paid. The lender should furnish this data.
Early withdrawal penalties on CDs and other time deposits. This data should come from the financial institution.
Personal property tax information. This data should come from the taxing authority.
6) Deductible expenses
Gifts to charity (receipts for any single donations of $250 or more). This should come from the charity.
Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work. You will need to keep your own records for this.
Unreimbursed expenses related to your job (travel expenses, entertainment, uniforms, union dues, subscriptions). You will need to keep this data.
Investment expenses. Your broker will furnish some data. Travel, phone and other related expenses are your responsibility to track.
Job-hunting expenses. You will need to keep this data.
Education expenses. You will need to keep this data. But if you qualify for Hope or Lifetime credits or other college deductions, the college involved will send you the data on the qualifying expenses you've paid.
Child care expenses. You will need to keep this data.
Medical Savings Accounts. The institution handling the account will be able to generate any data.
Adoption expenses. You will need to track this data.
Alimony paid. You or the authority dispersing funds will need to keep this data. To deduct this expense, you will need the recipient's Social Security number.
Tax return preparation expenses and fees. Your preparer can furnish this data to you.
7) Self-employment data
K-1s on all partnerships. The partnership management should generate this data.
Receipts or documentation for business-related expenses. This is data you should keep and track.
Farm income. You or an accountant should tack this information. You will need to prepare Schedule F.
8) Deduction documents
Federal, state & local estimated income tax paid for current year: Estimated tax vouchers, cancelled checks & other payment records. You must keep copies of this data and track it.
IRA, Keogh & other retirement plan contributions. You can get this information from your financial institutions.
Medical expenses. You must track this data.
Casualty or theft losses
Other miscellaneous deductions. You will need to file Form 4684.