Here’s a rough checklist of items to pull together for your tax professional. Please don’t panic at this long list; most of it will not apply unless you have a complex situation. In some cases, your tax professional will send you a form to complete called an “organizer.”

Hopefully, this list will help you gather the items you need.  The sooner you do, the sooner you can get any refund owed to you from the government.

  • Prior year tax returns – federal and state – usually two years
  • Full legal names, birth dates, and social security numbers or ITINs for you, a spouse, and family members
  • Government-issued ID
  • For dependents, relationship to you and whether they live with you
  • Home address
  • Whether you had full year health coverage for 2018
  • Form W-2(s)
  • Any estimated tax payments made not recorded on Form W-2
  • Bank account information if you’d like any refund directly deposited
  • Form 1099(s)
  • Interest and dividend statements including stock, bond, mutual funds and other instrument purchases and sales from your bank and brokerage companies
  • Social security, IRA and other retirement fund withdrawals and/or contributions
  • Alimony received and/or paid
  • Details of rental income and expenses if you are a landlord
  • Details of business income and expenses if you are a business owner or partner, including Schedule K-1(s)
  • Farm income and expenses if you are a farmer
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Any other income or losses not listed above, such as gambling or lottery winnings
  • Form 1098 – Mortgage interest and details about your home purchase and all home loans
  • Student loan interest paid
  • Real estate and personal property taxes paid
  • Possibly state taxes paid
  • Medical expenses paid and health savings account details
  • Charitable contribution details
  • Tuition and educational expenses paid
  • Purchase of energy efficient home improvement or electric car
  • Moving expenses and combat pay if you are in the Armed Forces
  • Records of household employees’ pay

If you’re a business owner, it will depend on the type of entity you have as to the records needed, but in most cases, financial statements including a balance sheet and income statement for the last two years will be needed. 

Some new information that will be needed this year includes:

  1. Home loans including the total amount, what they are for, and how they are secured.
  2. For certain taxpayers earning over a threshold amount and with business income from pass-through entities, your preparer will need to ask you questions about the nature of your products and services to determine if you fall into a Specified Service or Trade Business category for purposes of a new business deduction.
  3. For partnerships, all of the names of the partners will need to be collected in many cases and a partnership representative will need to be named.
  4. For business assets acquired, both the purchase date and the placed-in-service date will need to be collected to determine depreciation options. 

Many tax preparers will provide you with a client portal where you can upload these documents when you receive them. You can also collect them on paper and mail them in to be scanned.

If you need help or have questions about any of this, please feel free to reach out any time.