Tax Preparation Checklist


Written by: Jon McGraw

It’s that time of year again—tax time. Even if you outsource your tax preparation to a professional, that doesn’t mean that you’re totally off the hook as far as work to do. After all, your tax professional won’t be able to properly prepare your taxes if they don’t have all the relevant information at hand. Use this checklist to help make sure that you have everything you and your CPA need to prepare your taxes well before April 15 rolls around.

Documents You May Need When Filing Your Taxes

Before you get started with your taxes, make sure you have the following records, forms and documents on hand. (Note: This is not an exhaustive list.):

  • W-2 form from your employer.
  • All 1099 forms you receive documenting independent contractor income, government payouts, interest and dividends, retirement account distributions and government payouts. If you have self-employment or consulting income, make sure you review any 1099 forms you receive to make sure that the income reported is correct.
  • Any 1098 forms recording mortgage interest, tuition and fees and student loan interest paid, or vehicles donated to charity.
  • Bank and brokerage statements.
  • Information about any foreign bank accounts owned.
  • Records of self-employment income not reported on a 1099 form.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage and records of any health insurance premiums you paid.
  • Form 1095-A, which documents any premium tax credits insurers have received on your behalf.
  • Contributions to IRAs or other retirement accounts.
  • Documentation of deductible charitable contributions. (Don’t forget to include records for in-kind contributions, such as gently used clothes or household goods. Also, keep in mind that while you may be able to deduct the mileage related to volunteer work you do, you can’t deduct the value of your time.)
  • Proof of deductible medical expenses and dependent care expenses.
  • Receipts for energy-efficient appliances you purchased for your home.
  • Receipts for unreimbursed work-related expenses.
  • Records of taxes paid, including state and local taxes, real estate taxes, property taxes and vehicle fees.
  • If you relocated during the year for work, records of moving expenses.
  • Records of alimony paid or received.
  • Records of estimated tax paid.
  • Documentation of capital gains and losses.
  • Details of income or loss from rental properties.
  • Casualty and theft losses.
  • Records of gifts made in the past year.
  • Records of adoption expenses.
  • Records of contributions to and withdrawals from health savings accounts.
  • Proof of qualified education expenses paid.
  • Your previous year’s tax return.

Help Your Advisors Work Together

Overwhelmed? You’re not alone. No one is denying that taxes aren’t complicated. One thing that can make the filing process easier to manage is involving your financial advisor, tax professional and other professional advisors. At Buttonwood Financial Group, for example, we’re happy to act as a Family CFO, helping to coordinate all your advisors so that your tax planning and preparation happen with your entire financial picture in mind. That, in turn, makes it easier for us to identify ways for you to save on taxes this year and in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about how Buttonwood Financial Group can help you make smart tax planning decisions and coordinate your taxes with your entire financial situation, please get in touch.

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