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The IRS recently announced that it would begin accepting and processing tax returns on January 23, 2023, so it’s time to get your papers together before meeting with your tax accountant. Knowing what documents to bring can help your tax preparer work to avoid errors, lower your tax bill, and even get you a refund. 

What documents do I need to file my taxes?

In addition to proof of identity (e.g. driver’s license), documents you should bring to your initial tax appointment include:

  • Social Security documents
  • Income statements (e.g W-2s, MISC-1099s)
  • Tax forms to report other types of income (e.g. Schedule K-1 for trusts, partnerships, and S-corps)
  • Tax deduction records
  • Expense receipts

Social Security Information

To get started, your CPA or tax preparer needs the full names and Social Security numbers or tax ID numbers of you, your spouse, and your dependents. You should provide: 

  • Social Security cards for all individuals included on your tax return
  • Another form of identification to verify the Social Security information (e.g. driver’s license, passport, or state identification card)

Income Statements

Your employer will report your income directly to the IRS. But your tax preparer will also need information on your W-2 form(s) to complete your returns. You must provide W-2s from each employer if you have more than one job.

Other Income Statements 

Your tax preparer may also need other income statements to file your return, including:

  • 1099-R for distributions received from a pension, annuity, IRA, insurance contract, or other retirement accounts
  • W-2G for certain types of gambling winnings

Other Types of Income

You must report income from being self-employed or other sources on various IRS forms with your tax return, including Form 1099 and 1099-MISC for employment income. Your CPA or tax preparer can advise you of all the required 1099 filings. 

Tax Deduction Documents

Legitimate tax deductions will reduce your taxable income and, therefore, your tax bill. You can report major deductions on several forms, including:

  • Form 1098 (Mortgage Interest Statement) from your mortgage loan servicer
  • Form 1098-E for interest paid on a student loan during the preceding year
  • Form 1040ES for estimated tax payments made

Receipts for Expenses

If you plan on deducting expenses from your personal or business income taxes, provide receipts for those expenses to your tax preparer. Tax-deductible personal expenses include:

  • Medical bills
  • Charitable contributions
  • IRA contributions
  • Certain education expenses

Many business expenses are also tax deductible if you are self-employed. But you must document personal and business expenses with receipts, invoices, medical bills, and mileage logs.

Prior Tax Returns

Finally, bring a copy of your latest return to your tax appointment. This will provide information about your past income and deductions, point out major changes that may have occurred in the last year, and identify possible discrepancies between your returns.

The Takeaway

Paying income taxes is inevitable. Mitigating your tax liability and protecting your interests takes preparation. Contact an experienced CPA to get started on your individual or business tax return today.