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Getting organized for tax season: What you need to know

Individuals 03.18.2021 3 MIN READ

The start of the new year also brings the stress of doing your taxes. Advanced preparation can help take the fear out of tax season. Whether you file your own taxes or you use a tax professional, we’ve created a checklist of documents and forms that will make it easier to stay organized.

What do you have to report as income?

You’ll need this form or other documentation:
  • Paid job(s)
  • W-2
  • Investments, including interest or dividends
  • 1099-INT, 1099-OID, 1099-DIV
  • Tax refunds from a state government or unemployment compensation
  • 1099-G
  • A pension, annuity or retirement plan
  • 1099-R
  • Social Security benefits
  • SSA-1099
  • Other miscellaneous income
  • 1099-MISC
  • Business or rental properties, farms
  • Business records, receipts and check registers

Do you have any expenses that may reduce your taxes?

Expense: You’ll need this form or other documentation:
  • Home mortgage interest
  • 1098
  • Real estate taxes
  • Receipts from your city, town or county2
  • Charitable contributions
  • Receipts from charities or bank records for amounts $250 or more3
  • Tuition, fees or other qualified education expenses
  • 1098-T, receipts
  • Student loan interest
  • 1098-E
  • Child and dependent-care expenses
  • Caregivers' tax ID numbers, receipts, copies of checks or check register
  • Casualty loss from a federally declared disaster
  • Proof of loss, contractor estimates, receipts for the cost of cleaning up or making repairs, amount of any insurance reimbursement

What else might impact your taxes?

Documentation/forms you’ll need:
  • Made retirement plan contributions, including Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contributions, including Roth IRA conversions
  • Amount of your contributions from your W-2, Form 5498, Form 8606 and Form 1099-R
  • Health savings account (HSA) contributions
  • Year-end statement, copies of checks or check register, Form 5498-SA
  • Sold investments resulting in a capital gain or loss
  • 1099-B
  • Change in marital status, or added a new person to your family
  • SSN or other IRS-issued Taxpayer Identification Number for spouse and/or dependents, divorce or separation instrument

Have you already paid some of your taxes?

Documentation/forms needed:
  • Withholding from your paycheck
  • Included on your W-2
  • Withholding from a pension annuity, 401(k) withdrawal, etc.
  • 1099-R
  • Estimated payments
  • Copy of your payment vouchers and checks
  • Overpayment applied from 2019 return
  • Copy of your 2019 Form 1040

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1For 2020, taxpayers can exclude up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits from their taxes if their individual gross income is less than $150,000. This exemption applies to anyone regardless of their filing status.

2If your real estate taxes were paid from an escrow account, the amount may be noted on Form 1098 that you receive from your lender.

3For noncash charitable contributions, Form 8283 must be filed if the amount of deduction for all noncash gifts is more than $500.

Note: Not intended to cover all situations or examples. Consult a financial or tax advisor to be sure you fully understand your tax situation.