Tax Form Checklist for Simple Filers

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October 15th is quickly approaching and if you didn’t file your tax return yet you’re probably wondering how to get your tax documents in order to make the tax extension deadline.  Jim Wang has created a tax form checklist to help you figure out what tax documents you need to prepare your taxes.

Tax Form Checklist
Tax Form Checklist

When filing taxes, it is important to make sure that you have all the documents that you need. The good news is that for simple tax filers there isn’t a whole lot that you need. If your taxes are relatively simple to prepare, here are the documents that you should gather in order to be properly prepared:

  • W-2: Gather up any W-2 forms. This is the form your employer issues to you in order to let you know how much you made during the year. This form also includes how much money was withheld in taxes, as well as any amount of money withheld for other purposes.
  • 1099: You might have 1099 forms if you did work on the side. Also, there are different versions of the 1099 form for interest earnings, dividend earnings, and other sources of income that you need to report.
  • Other income information: Don’t forget about other income you might receive, such as alimony.
  • 1098: If you have been paying mortgage interest, this is the form that shows the amount of mortgage interest you paid and can deduct.  It may also show property taxes you paid and can deduct.
  • 1098-E: Details your tax deductible student loan interest payments paid over $600.  If you paid less than $600 you may not receive a 1098-T, but don’t forget your interest.  You can still deduct it.
  • 1098-T:  Details tax deductible eligible education costs you paid for higher education.
  • Supporting information for tax credits: If you are eligible for tax credits, you will need to get information from supporting documents. Whether it’s a credit for installing solar panels, or information needed to claim a dependent care credit, you will need to refer to related documents. For example, you need the tax ID number for facilities that provide dependent care.
  • Social Security numbers for family members: In order to file your taxes, you need your social security number. You also need the correct social security numbers for your spouse, as well as for anyone you are claiming as a dependent.  This information is necessary if you want to take the Earned Income Tax Credit and other available tax credits for dependents.
  • Contribution information: Don’t forget information about retirement plan contributions that may be deductible.  Also, if your state offers you a tax benefit for contributing to a 529 plan, you’ll want that for your state taxes (it doesn’t apply for your federal taxes).
  • Receipts: Charitable contributions require receipts. If you are itemizing and want to deduct charitable contributions, or if you have other tax deductible expenses, you need proper receipts to fill out information when preparing your tax return.  You don’t have to include these receipts with you tax return, but you need to keep them for your records to prove your donations or other expenses.

The basic rule of thumb for documentation is: If you claim it on your tax return, get the documentation to back it up.

If you follow this checklist and prepare your taxes using TurboTax, preparing your tax return will be even easier.

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