Everything You Need to File Your Taxes

article by Arya A. author
Life is one big paper trail. If you don't believe this, just look at what you need to have just to file a tax return! Do you know what you information you need to file your return? You're in luck as we are giving you a list of everything you need to file your taxes, and we mean EVERYTHING.

Make sure you get this information together before using tax preparation services in order to save time and get your return filed faster.

Vital Statistics

The first thing you need is information on yourself, your spouse and any dependents you are claiming. Here are the items you need:

  • Social security numbers
  • Date of birth
  • Job information (type of job, business category)
  • Bank account information for refunds or tax payments
  • Previous two years of tax returns

You should note that if you’re using one of the best online tax filing services like TurboTax, once you enter this information, it is automatically imported into your return in subsequent years.

Income Data

The most important part of the tax return is your income information. You need information from all sources of income. The most common income forms are as follows:

  • W-2
  • 1099-MISC for self-employment or business payments of $600 or more
  • SSA-1099 (Social Security Benefits)
  • Alimony received

Other income forms include the following:

  • Business or farming income data (outside of 1099-MISC)
  • Rental property income
  • 1099-G (Unemployment compensation)
  • 1099-R (Distribution from 401K, IRA, etc)
  • 1099-S (Sale of property)
  • 1099-INT (Interest income)
  • 1099-DIV (Dividend Income)
  • 1099-C (Cancellation of Debt)

Income Adjustments

Income adjustments reduce the amount of taxable income on your return prior to claiming deductions or credits.

  • Self-employment health insurance
  • IRA contributions
  • 1098-T (Higher education tuition)
  • 1098-E (Student loan interest)
  • Health savings account contributions
  • Moving expenses
  • Self-employment pension plans (SEP, SIMPLE, Keogh)
  • Alimony paid
  • Certain energy-efficient home improvements

Credits and Deductions

This section is a taxpayer’s best friend as deductions and credits can greatly increase your refund or reduce your tax burden. You need to have forms for the following:

  • Mortgage interest, insurance and point paid (Form 1098)
  • Charitable donations (cash or physical items with valuation)
  • Medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income
  • Child care costs
  • Unreimbursed employee expenses (union dues, uniforms, etc)
  • Rental property expenses and income
  • Business or self-employment expenses
  • Proof of insurance through an approved Obamacare exchange (For the premium tax credit)
  • Casualty and theft losses
  • Costs for Adoption

If you aren’t sure you qualify for a certain deduction, many tax software apps will give you guidance on whether you’re eligible.

Taxes Paid

Did you know you can deduct certain taxes from your return? Most don’t, so make sure you take advantage by having forms for the following taxes paid:

  • State income taxes (Previous years taxes)
  • Local income taxes (If you’re not taking an state income tax deduction)
  • Personal property taxes (Car, Home, other taxable property)
  • Vehicle licensing and registration fees
  • Real estate taxes

Special Cases

If you’re self employed or have certain unique circumstances, additional forms may be required to fill out your taxes. Some of those are as follows:

  • Form 1095-A (If you just signed up for Obamacare this year)
  • Marketplace exemption certificate if you qualify for an Obamacare exemption
  • Foreign bank account information
  • Refunds from previous years applied to this year’s return
  • Self-employed estimated tax payments (Typically quarterly)