What records do I need to file my taxes?
Tax season is a good time to get your financial records in order. And whether you are doing it on your own or hiring a tax preparer to assist you, you'll want to make sure that you have all of your information organized to make the process of filing your taxes easier.
Sometime in January you should have received your W-2 form from your employer. Your W-2 form lists your gross income, taxable income, and the amount of state and federal taxes withheld from your pay. It also will show any 401(k), health insurance, and flexible spending account contributions you have made.
Around the same time that you got your W-2, you should also have received 1099 forms from financial institutions for any dividend and interest income. And if you have a mortgage, your mortgage servicer sent you a 1098 form, which contains information on interest paid along with other mortgage-related expenses.
In addition to the above-referenced forms, you'll need to provide your personal information, including your date of birth and Social Security or tax ID number. If you are married and/or have children, you will need their information as well. You should also have documents that list any additional sources of income, such as self-employment, rental, retirement, or unemployment income.
Depending on whether you qualify for any tax deductions or credits, you may also need the following information:
- Records of cash and noncash charitable donations
- Amounts paid toward medical, dental, and vision expenses
- Federal, state, and local taxes paid (including quarterly estimated tax payments)
- Dependent-care provider information
- Receipts for education-related expenses
Make sure that you keep all your financial records in a safe and easy-to-find place. Being organized is not just a good idea during tax time, but is also helpful at other times of the year (e.g., when you apply for a loan or financial aid for college).