Friday, April 1, 2016

Getting Organized: 2016 Tax Prep Checklist


The first step in avoiding tax preparation stress is to gather all your paperwork. That applies whether you’re planning to do your own taxes online, hand the whole thing off to a tax professional, or even do it the old-fashioned way — with paper, a pencil and a calculator.
You’ll also need to know your filing status, your exemptions, thecredits and deductions you’re claiming, whether you plan to itemize or use the standard deduction, and which Form 1040 you plan to file.
To help you cover your bases, we’ve put together a checklist of items you’ll need as you prepare your 2015 return. Don’t be paralyzed by the length of the list: You only need the information and documents that apply to your situation.

Personal information for you, your spouse and your dependents

  • Social Security or tax ID numbers.
  • Birth dates.
  • Tax returns for the previous three years.

Child care and other expenses

  • Amount of any alimony paid, as well as your ex-spouse’s full name and Social Security number.
  • Child care payment records and provider’s tax ID number, if applicable.
  • Form 8332 for claiming a child.

Education payments

  • Form 1098-T for tuition and other educational expenses.
  • Itemized receipts for qualified educational expenses.
  • Scholarship or fellowship records.
  • Form 1098-E for student loan interest.

Employee information

  • Form W-2 for your earnings and taxation information.

Self-employment information

  • Form 1099-MISC for self-employment income.
  • Schedule K-1 for income from a business partnership.
  • Income records to verify amounts not reported on 1099s.
  • Expense records: check registers, credit card statements and receipts.
  • Business-use asset information (cost, date placed in service, etc.) to claim depreciation.
  • Documentation needed for home office deduction.

Business-use-of-vehicle information

  • Records of business miles accrued.
  • Records of parking fees and tolls paid.
  • Receipts for actual expenses.

Rental property income

  • Income and expense records.
  • Rental asset information (cost, date placed in service, etc.) to claim depreciation.

Retirement income and contributions

  • 1099-R for pension/IRA/annuity income.
  • SSA-1099 for Social security income.
  • RRB-1099 for Railroad Retirement Board income.
  • Form 5498 for IRA contributions.
  • Traditional IRA basis for previously taxed contribution amounts.

Savings and investment

  • 1099-INT1099-OID and 1099-DIV for interest and dividend income.
  • 1099-B for income from stock sales.
  • 1099-S for income from property sales.
  • Acquisition dates and records of cost or other basis on sold property, if not reported on Form 1099-B.

Other income

  • 1099-G for unemployment and state tax refund income.
  • W-2G or other records showing gambling income, as well as expense records.
  • Amount of any alimony received.
  • 1099-SA for health savings account distributions.
  • 1099-LTC for long-term care benefits distributions.
  • Jury duty records.
  • Records of hobby income and expenses.
  • Records of financial prizes and awards.
  • Other 1099s.

Affordable Care Act

  • Form 1095-A for Marketplace (Exchange) enrollments.
  • Form 1095-B and/or 1095-C for insurance received through an employer, insurance company or Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, VA or other government health plan.
  • Marketplace exemption certificate (ECN) issued by the Marketplace Exchange.

Other deductions and credits

  • Classroom expense receipts for educators of grades K-12.
  • Form 5498-SA for HSA contributions.
  • Form 5498-QA for ABLE account contributions.
  • Form 5498-ESA for Coverdell ESA contribution. 
  • Records of moving expenses not reimbursed by employer.
  • Form 1098 or other mortgage interest statements.
  • Records of state/local income tax paid (other than wage withholding) or of state and local sales tax paid.
  • Real estate and personal property tax records.
  • Invoice for vehicle sales tax paid.
  • Records of cash and non-cash charitable donations.
  • Records of health insurance premiums and medical bills. 
  • Records of mileage driven for charitable or medical purposes.
  • Records of investment-related expenses.
  • Receipt for preparation of the previous year’s tax return.
  • Expense records for dues, publications, tools, uniform costs and other employment-related costs.
  • Records of job-hunting expenses. 
  • Receipts for energy-saving home improvements. 
  • Estimated tax payment records.