To help you save time when preparing your taxes, we have created this checklist of the information you’ll need to complete your tax return. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can do your taxes using TurboTax software when you have the key information already at hand.
Things to do ahead of time:
1. Open this checklist online and print it. You can print the PDF straight from your browser.
2. Put the printed checklist in a file folder or—better yet—fasten it to the front of the folder for quick reference. We’ve put the most common tax items on the first page.
3. When you receive or find a required document, put it in the folder and note it on the list.
4. If an item on the list doesn’t match your tax situation, strike through it.
If you’re using a money management program such as Quicken® to organize your finances, print out a report of the tax year’s transactions and highlight your tax information. Reviewing a tax year report is easier and faster than reviewing cancelled checks or bank statements for the tax year.
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You’ll need Social Security numbers and the birthdates for everyone on the return, including you, your spouse, and your dependents.
- Employment income reported on forms W-2 for both you and, if married, for your spouse
- If retired, your Social Security benefits reported on form SSA-1099
- Income from investments documented on various forms 1099 (-B, -DIV, -INT, etc.) and stock option information from forms K-1
- Refunds from state and local income tax and/or unemployment income: forms 1099-G
- Taxable alimony from a divorce finalized prior to Jan.y 1, 2019
- Income from business or farming shown on a statement of profit/loss, including information on capital equipment and, if you claim a home office for business, your home size, your office size, and home and office expenses
- Distributions from an IRA/pension listed on forms 1099-R or 8606
- Profit/Loss statement for rental property, including suspended loss information
- Proceeds from the sale of property (form 1099-B or 1099-S), plus information about the original cost, the cost of any improvements, the escrow closing costs, and any cancelled debt
- Income from a prior year installment sale, including principal and interest received during the tax year and the payer’s Social Security number and address—forms 6252
- Miscellaneous income, including gambling winnings, scholarships, Medical Savings Account, jury duty, inheritances, etc.
The following payments and expenses might be a tax adjustment and reduce your taxable income, lowering your tax bill and possibly increasing your tax refund.
- Contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
- Credits for saving energy
- Interest paid on student loans
- Contributions to a Medical Savings Account
- Moving expenses (on certain federal and some state tax returns)
- If you’re self-employed, qualifying health insurance premium payments
- Contributions to pension plans for the self-employed, including 401(k), Keogh, SEP, and SIMPLE
- Tax deductible alimony paid (from divorces finalized before Jan. 1, 2019)
- Certain deductible educator expenses
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Credits and itemized deductions:
You may qualify for certain credits and deductions that can reduce your tax burden and potentially increase your tax refund. To claim them, you'll need thorough documentation.
- Interest on mortgage payments for your primary residence, including any points you paid in the tax year—Forms 1098
- Child care expenses, showing the amount paid, the provider's name, address, and tax identification number
- Costs of education, claimed on forms 1098-T and documented with receipts
- Adoption expenses, including the child’s Social Security number and any medical, legal, and even transportation costs
- Interest on money you borrow to invest, such as money borrowed to buy an investment property
- Donations to charities in the forms of cash, property, out-of-pocket expenses, and even miles driven for a charity
- Losses due to casualty losses in federally declared disaster areas, including the damage amount and insurance reimbursements
- For some state tax returns: miscellaneous deductible expenses, including union dues and expenses that your employer did not reimburse you for, including job-related travel, continuing education, seminars, uniforms, publications, supplies, etc.
- Unreimbursed medical and dental expenses
Qualifying tax payments:
Taxes you paid during the tax year, including:
- State and local income taxes and/or sales taxes paid in the tax year
- Taxes paid on real estate
- Taxes on personal property, such as automobile license fees based on the vehicle’s value
Additional tax information:
- Estimated tax payments you made during the tax year, any amount you paid along with a tax filing extension, or a prior year tax refund applied to current year
- Your direct deposit information, including your account number, bank routing number, and type of account
- If you have a foreign bank account, you’ll need the bank name, its location, your account number, and the peak account balance during the tax year
When your checklist is complete and your file folder is full, let TurboTax guide you through preparing and filing your tax return. We’ll ask simple questions about your tax situation and identify all the tax breaks that can lower your tax bill or possibly put a refund in your pocket.