Knowing what paperwork to bring when you’re scheduled to meet your tax preparer can be a headache. Do you have all the necessary forms? How do you know which statements are important? Well, worry no more - we've put together a list of essential documents that will help make preparing and filing your taxes less stressful.
Read on to find out what documents you'll need to help ensure your taxes are done right.
Social Security Information
To start, your tax preparer will need to know the full names and social security numbers of everyone in your family – you, your spouse, and any dependents you have – to successfully file your tax return. To make sure you give them the correct spellings and numbers, it’s a good idea to bring everyone’s Social Security cards to the meeting, in addition to another government-issued ID with a photograph for each person (like a driver’s license or passport).
Latest Tax Return
It’s helpful to provide the tax preparer with your last tax return. Then they can easily see what your typical income and deductions are, as well as if there are any discrepancies or changes that have occurred since the prior year.
You’ll need to show your tax preparer what income you brought in during the year. This will require you to share any W-2 forms you’ve received from employers. The W-2s will show the total wages you were paid that year from each employer and how much was withheld for taxes.
Additional income statements that should be given to your tax preparer include W-2cs (sometimes an employer will issue one of these if they need to correct an error on the initial W-2), W-2Gs (if you had any gambling winnings), and 1099-Rs (if you received any distributions from a pension, IRA, insurance contract, annuity, or other retirement account).
If you receive income from other sources or are self-employed, you will likely get other IRS forms in the mail too. You should bring these with you as well because your tax preparer will need them. Some examples of these forms include:
- Form 1099/Form 1099-MISC – self-employment income
- Form 1099-A – proceeds from a foreclosure
- Form 1099-B – proceeds from broker transactions
- Form 1099-C – cancellation of debt
- Form 1099-DIV – dividends and distributions
- Form 1099-G – unemployment income or a state tax refund
- Form 1099-INT/Form 1099-OID – interest income
- Form 1099-K – business or rental income processed by third-parties
- Form 1099-LTC – long-term care reimbursements
- Form 1099-PATR – patronage dividends
- Form 1099-Q – payments from qualified education programs
- Form 1099-QA – distributions from ABLE accounts
- Form 1099-S – proceeds from the sale of property
- Form 1099-SA – distributions from Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Medical Savings Accounts (MSA)
- Form SSA-1099 – Social Security benefits
- Form RRB-1099 – railroad retirement benefits
Tax Deduction Documents
Don’t forget to bring any forms that document your deductions. These are especially important because they can potentially reduce your taxable income (and hence, your tax bill). Here are some examples of these forms:
- Form 1098 – mortgage interest statement
- Form 1098-C – donation of an automobile, aircraft, or boat (valued at $500+) to a tax-exempt organization
- Form 1098-E – student loan interest paid the past year
- Form 1098-T – post-secondary education tuition paid the past year
- Form 1040ES – estimated tax payments paid the past year
Finally, give your tax preparer receipts for personal expenses that might be tax deductible, like charitable contributions, medical bills, IRA contributions, and some education expenses. If you’re self-employed, there are additional business expenses that might also be deductible, including mileage, equipment, office supplies, and so on. Save these receipts and invoices throughout the year in case your tax preparer needs them.
So, there you have it! Bringing the above items with you to get your tax return prepared will help ensure that the meeting goes smoothly. Rather than waiting until the last minute to gather them all together, consider putting organizational processes in place at the beginning of the tax year so you know right where everything is when the time comes to get your taxes done.
Disclosure: Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide tax advice. You may want to consult a tax advisor regarding any tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.