2011 Income Tax Preparation Checklist

By Mark Di Vincenzo. May 7th 2016

Tax Day is right around the corner and you probably know that because you’ve been receiving various tax forms in the mail since the middle of January. Most of them arrive by the end of February so that early filers can submit their returns and receive their refunds.

Hopefully, you’ve been filing these documents away in a safe place where you can easily find them when you start working on your return.

Whether you expect to receive a refund and want to file as soon as possible or you know you owe taxes and plan to wait until April 15 – or beyond – here is a list of the tax documents that you may need this tax season.

Personal Information

First, compile this personal information:

  • Social Security numbers for you and your family members
  • Childcare information, including the provider’s name, address and tax identification number, and cancelled checks or invoices
  • Receipts or cancelled checks for college tuition payments and Form 1098-T, the IRS tuition statement
  • Receipts related to adoption costs, including legal fees and transportation and lodging costs

Income

Next, gather up information related to your income:

  • W-2s forms for all employers for you and your spouse
  • 1099-INT forms, which report income from investments
  • 1099-DIV forms, which report income from dividends
  • 1099-B forms, which report the proceeds from the sale of stocks and bonds
  • Statements from financial advisers that show financial products you sold
  • 1065 forms, which show investments in partnerships
  • 1120S forms, which show investments in S Corporations
  • Statements from financial advisers that show foreign taxes you paid
  • Stock option statements, which show the options you received and exercised
  • Statements that show information about employee stock purchase plan shares you received or sold
  • 1099-G forms, which show tax refunds you received from your state or the federal government
  • Your state income tax return from the prior tax year, and your city income tax return from the prior tax year, if applicable
  • Bank statements that show alimony you received
  • 1099-G forms, which report income from your state unemployment agency
  • Unemployment check stubs and deposit records
  • SSA-1099 forms, which report Social Security benefits you received
  • 1099-R forms, which shows money received from IRA or retirement plans
  • Summary statements for IRA accounts and deposit receipts and contribution records
  • Jury duty pay records
  • W-2G forms, which report gambling and lottery winnings
  • 1099-MISC forms, which show prizes and awards you received
  • 1099-MSA forms, which report distributions from medical savings accounts

For more information on the common IRS tax forms, see Helpful Information On The Common IRS Federal Tax Forms.)

Business Income

If you own your own business, make sure you have:

  • Accounting records, invoices or billings, bank statements, cancelled checks for expenses, payroll records, invoices for major machinery, equipment, furniture and other expenses, logs that show mileage traveled, and inventory records, if applicable

If you work from home, you’ll need this information:

  • The square footage of your home office area and the total square footage of your house
  • Total rent paid, if home is rented, or mortgage interest reported from Form 1098
  • Property tax payments
  • Homeowner's insurance premium payments
  • Invoices for repairs and maintenance on your house
  • Utility bills. If your home office is 15 percent of your house, you’ll be able to write off 15 percent of your utility bills

If you are a landlord, you’ll need to show:

  • Profit and loss statements
  • Cancelled checks for expenses
  • 1099-MISC forms that show rental income you received
  • 1098 forms that show mortgage interest you paid
  • Property tax payments from assessor's bill, cancelled checks, or impound records
  • Rental losses from prior years, reported on last year's return.

If you serve on a corporate board and received pay, you’ll need to show fee receipts or statements.

There are other forms of income, but those are the most common ones.

Deductions

Now let’s move on to adjustments, also known as deductions -- those things that reduce your taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. Here’s some of what you’ll need:

  • Year-end account summary statements or bank statements that show IRA contributions
  • 1098-E forms, which show interest paid on student loans. (Loan statements also show that information.)
  • Account statements or canceled checks that show what you contributed to medical savings accounts, also known as health savings accounts
  • Invoices from moving companies for moving expenses, canceled checks and paycheck stubs that show reimbursements for moving expenses
  • Insurance premium bills or canceled checks for those who pay for private health insurance
  • Year-end account summary statements or canceled checks for those who pay into certain pension plans
  • Canceled checks that show alimony paid
  • Canceled checks that show expenses paid for classroom supplies

Homeownership

If you own a house, you can deduct mortgage interest, which is reflected on Form 1098 and on the year-end mortgage statement that your lender sent you. You also can write off points, which also is reflected on Form 1098. (To learn more, see 6 Tax Deductions For Homeowners.)

Investments and Charitable Contributions

  • Brokers' statements that show margin interest paid
  • Loan statements to buy investments
  • Receipts and canceled checks that show charitable donations (For more information, see The Tax Value Of Charitable Donations.)
  • Receipts for appraisal fees that show the value of high-priced donations given

Job Expenses

  • Reimbursement check stubs or reports from your employer
  • Paycheck stubs that show union dues you paid
  • Receipts that detail gifts you gave to clients
  • Receipts for seminar fees, travel, parking, supplies, clothing, tools and other equipment
  • Mileage records (To learn more, see Use Your Car For Business And Get A Tax Break.)
  • Receipts related to job search expenses, such as printing, mailing, transportation, long-distance calls, employment agency fees and career counseling costs
  • Receipts related to job-related educational expenses, such as tuition, books, transportation and lodging

Other Deductions

  • Invoices or canceled checks that show tax return preparation fees and tax prep software and books
  • Bank statement that show safe deposit box rental fees
  • Invoices for investment costs
  • SSA-1099 forms, which show Medicare premiums paid from your Social Security benefits

Keep this checklist handy when you sit down to file your taxes this year. It is important to note that there are many more types of deductions, and knowing about them may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. To see an even longer checklist, you may want to buy tax prep software or go to the IRS website.

Sources

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