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Tax Preparation Checklist

What You Need to File Your Taxes in 2022

Preparing your tax return requires a lot of information, so it’s a great idea to have a checklist to make you have everything you need. This tax preparation checklist covers the items that affect most taxpayers – but remember that the specifics of what you need depend on your particular situation.

Personal Information

Your personal information tells the IRS who is filing the tax return, who is covered on the tax return, how to contact you, and where to deposit your tax refund. It includes your:

  • Name (as it appears on your Social Security card)
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Home address
  • Copy of last year’s federal tax return (and state tax return, if applicable)
  • Bank account number and routing number (to receive your refund by Direct Deposit)

It also includes the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of your spouse if you are married filing jointly.

RELATED: 2022 Tax Season Begins – IRS Urges Taxpayers to File Electronically

Dependent Information

If you are claiming someone else as a dependent on your tax return, you will need the following information:

  • Dependents’ name (as it appears on their Social Security card), Social Security number, and date of birth
  • Income of dependents (if applicable)
  • Childcare records including the provider’s Tax ID number (if applicable)
  • IRS Letter 6419 – official document that contains the details you need to report your advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments
  • Form 8332 – if your dependent child’s custodial parent releases their right to claim the child as a dependent on their tax return

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Income Information

You will need to have documents supporting your source(s) of income, which may include:

  • Forms W-2 from your employer(s)
  • Forms 1099-G for unemployment income and state or local tax refunds
  • Forms 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC for independent contractor work
  • Form 1099-MISC for income from a rental property
  • Form 1099-S for income from the sale of your residence or other property
  • Forms 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-OID, or 1099-B for income from interest, dividends, and stock sales
  • Form 1099-R for income from retirement plan distributions
  • Form SSA-1099 for income from Social Security benefits
  • Form 1099-Q for distributions from a 529 College Savings plan or Coverdell ESA
  • Forms 1099-SA or 1099-LTC for distributions from a Health Saving Account (HSA) or long-term care reimbursements
  • Schedule K-1 for income from a pass-through business, trust, or estate
  • Record of alimony paid/received with your ex-spouse’s name and Social Security number
  • Records of expenses (if self-employed)
  • Records of any transactions involving cryptocurrency
  • Information on other sources of income – such as gambling winnings, jury duty pay, cancellation of debt, royalty income, etc.

RELATED: Taxable vs. Non-Taxable Income

Business Information

If you’re self-employed and/or you own a business, you will need to report that income. Important tax-related documentation for businesses can include:

  • Profit/loss statements and capital equipment information
  • Forms 1099-NEC or 1099-K for income earned as an independent contractor
  • Records of all business income and expenses
  • Documentation for home office expenses (including the square footage of your home and the square footage of the area that’s used exclusively for business)
  • Records for business assets to be depreciated (including the cost and date the assets were placed in service)
  • Miles traveled for business purposes

You may also be able to claim certain tax breaks (such as deducting business expenses) to lower your tax liability.

Tax Credits

Tax credits help lower your taxes by giving you a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount you owe the IRS. Popular tax credits include:

  • The Child Tax Credit (CTC) – worth up to $3,600 per child in 2021 with advance monthly payments for eligible families
  • The Adoption Tax Credit – worth up to $14,440 per child for adoptions finalized in 2021
  • The Premium Tax Credit (PTC) – designed to help with the costs of health insurance premiums
  • The Recovery Rebate Credit – available for those who didn’t receive their stimulus check (or didn’t receive the full amount they’re eligible for)

In general, you will need supporting documentation in order to claim credits on your tax return, which may include:

  • Records of child care costs as well as the care provider’s name, address, and tax ID number
  • Records for adoption costs and the Social Security number of the child you legally adopted during the year
  • Form 1098-T showing expenses for higher education
  • Form 1095-A if you purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace

RELATED: 2021 Marginal Income Tax Brackets

Tax Deductions

Tax deductions lower your taxable income (i.e. the amount of income you earn that is subject to tax), which can help reduce the amount of tax you owe. Generally, you can claim the standard deduction or you can itemize your deductions – but you cannot do both.

If you itemize deductions, you will likely need to have records/documentation for the following:

  • Out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses
  • Premiums paid for long-term care insurance
  • Form 1098 showing any mortgage interest, mortgage insurance premiums, and points you paid during the year
  • Real estate taxes
  • State and local income taxes or sales taxes
  • Taxes paid with your vehicle registration
  • Charitable donations (including cash amounts, official charity receipts, value of donated property, etc.)
  • Casualty losses (if you lived or owned property in a federally declared disaster area)

Some deductions are categorized as “adjustments to income” and can be claimed whether or not you itemize. You will need information for the

If you have any of the following deductions, known as adjustments to income, you can claim them even if you don’t itemize. For these types of deductions, you will need the following information:

  • Form 1098-E for student loan interest
  • Records of contributions to an HSA, IRA, SEP, or self-employed retirement plan
  • Alimony paid or received (for divorce or separation agreements dated on or before December 31, 2018)
  • Expenses paid for classroom supplies (if you are a teacher)
  • Premiums paid for self-employed health insurance

Estimated Tax Payments

If you are self-employed and/or you aren’t paying enough tax through withholding, you are required to make estimated tax payments. Any tax payments that you’ve made during the year should be reported on your tax return, including:

  • Estimated tax payments made during 2021 (Form 1040-ES)
  • Prior-year tax refunds applied to the current year
  • Any amounts paid with a tax extension (Form 4868), if applicable

IRS Letters or Notices

You may have received an IRS letter or notice about something that affects your tax return this year. Make sure to have any IRS correspondences on hand when you’re preparing to file your taxes. This may include:

  • IRS Notice 1444-C, IRS Letter 6475, or other documents showing the amount of your third stimulus check
  • Your Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) issued by the IRS
  • IRS Notice 6419 showing the total amount of advanced Child Tax Credit payments you received during 2021

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