What you’ll Need

            Well here we are, January and it is time to start getting your tax information ready. But what do you need? Twelve months have passed. With the economy the way it is many have already been thinking about their taxes, some haven’t.


            Getting things ready to take in to your tax preparer is sometimes a grueling event. Be it for a return filed on time, or for the extension you might still be working on. Now mater when you do this, most everybody is going to need to bring the same things.



  • Be sure to include any changes in address, dependents, filing status, or any other substantive changes from the prior year which would have impact on this years return.
  • W-2s from all jobs.
  • Forms 1099 from all investments and bank accounts (be sure they are all accounted for as the IRS has a complete –sometimes- list).
  • Brokerage statements, interest, dividends, etc.
  • Student loan interest, child care expenses, tuition, and any other miscellaneous deductions/income.
  • Summary of property taxes with copies of all individual items over $1,000.
  • Summary of All valorem Taxes (property tax on cars) with copies of all individual items over $1,000.
  • Form 1098 reporting home mortgage interest.
  • Documentation of mortgage insurance
  • Form K-1s from any estate(s), partnership(s), or S corporation(s) from which you’ve received an inheritance. Call and check if you are missing any, as these often do not arrive until March or April.
  • Summary of all medical expenses with copies of all individual items/receipts over $1,000. Along with mileage, and any insurance reimbursements.
  • Records of gambling profits and losses. To offset reportable profits, you must have an accurate log of expenses and losses including amounts, dates, and locations.
  • Itemized record of charitable donations, including cash, checks and donated property.  Keep all receipts.  If value of donated property exceeds $500, an itemized list is necessary.
    • Example list: “12 shirts, 3 suits, and2 jackets” with fair market values, as opposed to a “bag of clothes,” will allow a true value for the items. (You can find my researched FMV guide at Fair Market Value Guide for Used Items (2012). Updated for this year –filing for 2008 returns)
    • Charitable gifts over $500 must include a receipt from the charity.
  • A copy of last year’s tax return. (last three years if you  are a new client to your preparer)
  • A list of financial goals and the last three years of returns, if seeking counsel.


Some additional items you may need to give:

  • Alimony paid or received, including Social Security Number of recipient (save cancelled checks)
  • Records of purchase and sale of a personal residence, including the settlement statement from closing (Keep records of all home improvements.)
  • Schedule of estimated federal, state and local taxes paid during the year
  • Child care expenses and provider information.  The tax identification number of the provider is required.
  • Information on IRA contributions made or to be made for the tax year
  • Summary of moving expenses, if eligible for the moving expense deduction
  • Summary of casualty losses from fire, theft or natural disaster
  • Receipts and records for all business-related income and expenses
  • Job-related expenses, such as union or professional association dues, work clothing, tools, supplies, job-hunting and job-related education.
  • Log book for business use of a vehicle.
  • Other records relating to vehicles purchased or leased during the year for which you are claiming business expense deductions
  • Records of all income from and expenses paid for rental real estate you own

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If You Can Answer Yes to the Following Questions, You Should Give All Related Documents to Your Tax Preparer.

  • Did you pay interest on higher education loans?
  • Were there any births, deaths, adoptions, divorces or marriages in your household?
  • Did you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, or re-characterize a Roth back to a traditional IRA?
  • Did you receive tip income?
  • Did you receive a notice from the IRS, state or local taxing agency regarding a prior year tax return?
  • Did you receive installment payments on property sales?
  • Did your children under 14 years of age receive investment income?
  • Did you support anyone other an your own children?
  • Did you make gifts to any individual other than your spouse of more than $12,000?
  • Do you have a foreign bank account?
  • Did you refinance your mortgage during the year?
  • Did you pay points to purchase a home or refinance a mortgage during the year?
  • Did you receive non-taxable sick pay?
  • Did you have household employees?
  • If you did not receive a W-2 from a former employer, do you have the final pay stub from that employer?
  • Did you receive money from a lawsuit?
  • Did you receive money from any other source not previously mentioned in this checklist?

As you can tell by the last question, this is not all inclusive. It is for this reason I regularly encourage taxpayers to have enough trust in their prepares to be able to tell them everything.

I mention in my post Choosing a tax preparer. . ., “If the tax professional you are talking to (or the tax practitioner you currently use) can’t do what you want honestly, don’t give him/her your business.”

In to all the above also make sure to have Notice CP 1378. This is the IRS notice that informed you of the Economic Stimulus Payment you may have gotten.

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      For more, check out Bankrate.coms peace by Kay Bell. Getting organized for the tax year.

© 2013, Bruce McFarland. All rights reserved.

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