Yes, the dreaded tax filing season is just around the corner.
That means scrambling to find the right forms, hunting for receipts, and all at the last minute because you’ve been procrastinating. But consider this: the earlier you file your taxes, the earlier you’ll get your refund.
To make this whole process easier, we’ve put together a little tax return checklist for you. It should cover the needs of most tax filers, so pay attention—Tax Day will be a breeze.
First up is a little personal information. This is the general personal data you’ll need to begin filing taxes. Having it on hand will help speed the whole process:
- Social Security Numbers: First up, you’ll need to have your own Social Security number. If you have a spouse or dependents, you’ll need to have their numbers as well.
- Last Year’s Taxes: If these are available, it’s a good idea to keep them handy. You can review what you did last year to help speed along with this year’s tax filing.
Now you have to gather all your income information. These are the documents that confirm the money you received for the previous year.
- W-2 Forms: The W-2 itemizes your earnings, as well as how much was withheld. Your employer must issue a W-2 form by the end of January, so keep a lookout for it. If you haven’t received yours by that time, you can request it.
- 1099 Forms: There are many different 1099 forms, and they depend on the kind of payments you’ve received. 1099-K, for instance, is if you’ve been paid via third-party transactions (such as PayPal, Amazon, etc.). 1099-MISC is for contract work; 1099-G is if you’ve received government benefits; 1099-R is if you’ve received money from a retirement plan, annuity, etc.
Deductions are a very important element of any tax return checklist.
After all, they can help reduce your taxable income and thereby lower your tax bill. And who doesn’t want that?
However, deductions require documentation, so it may take a little time and extra effort to gather all the appropriate information. Once you have the right documentation, here are some of the top deductions:
- Education Expenses: If you’re a student, you can deduct tuition and other fees; you’ll need Form 1098-T to file this deduction.
- Charitable Donations: Charitable contributions are some of the more common deductions. Make sure you have receipts for all of your donations.
- Retirement Account Contributions: You can also deduct contributions to a retirement account or traditional IRA.
Typically, income taxes are withheld from your paycheck throughout the course of the year. This makes tax filing much easier. If this isn’t the case, you can find the best way to mail tax returns to ensure they’re actually received.
Make Your Life Easier by Using This Tax Return Checklist
Look, no one really gets excited about tax season. Well…maybe the nerds at the IRS do, but everyone else tries to avoid it as much as possible.
Use this tax return checklist, and make your tax headaches go away. Just remember to have all your information on hand and plenty of documentation for everything…in case the dreaded IRS audit comes your way.
We hope you’ve found this article useful. Please check out the rest of our site for more great advice.