Tax season can be a stressful time. To make the tax filing process easier, it is important to organize your files before taking your information to your tax preparer. Gathering your information may be tedious, but well-organized paperwork will reduce your filing time and possibly increase your return.
The first thing you will need to present to your tax preparer is proof of identity, such as a state identification card, driver's license or military identification card. Your proof of identification should be a valid, non-expired card that clearly shows your picture. You also will need to provide valid Social Security cards for you and your dependents. These cards must be readable and non-laminated. You also should bring last year's tax return.
Proof of Income
You will need to present your income statements to your preparer in the form of W-2s, 1099s or other statements that show income you made. If you are self-employed or a contractor, you may have several 1099s. If you are retired, you should bring the 1099-R forms that show your income. Statements regarding unemployment, gambling earnings, commissions, earnings from the sale of stocks (1099-B) and income from partnerships, corporations, trusts and/or estates (Schedule K-1) also should be taken to your preparer.
If you're a homeowner, you should receive a Form 1098, which will show relevant tax information, and you'll need to present this to your tax preparer. If you have rental properties, bring your records of rental payments, receipts for any repairs or upgrades that you have completed on the properties and copies of any real estate or personal taxes that you have paid.
Throughout the year, we encounter many out-of-pocket expenses, some of which are tax deductible. You should present your preparer with receipts for any of the following: medical, eye or dental expenses that you have incurred; donations to charitable organizations; payments made to a traditional IRA; alimony paid or received; state or local taxes you have paid; unreimbursed employment-related expenses; tuition and education fees (1098-T); student loan interest forms (1098-E); casualty or theft loss expenses; foreign taxes paid; and any estimated taxes that you have paid.