April 15th is generally the deadline for individual tax reporting. If you plan to tackle tax preparation by yourself, here are some of the main documents you will need to prepare for the tax filing process.
Gathering the Correct Documents
The following list of tax documents will help you gather the required info you need to prepare your Form 1040:
- Form W-2: If you received any wages from any employer who hired you during the year, this form is automatically generated and mailed to you. Keep in mind that you will only receive a W-2 if you were considered an “employee.”
- 1099-MISC: If you worked as an independent contractor or a freelancer, your employer(s) will send you these forms.
- 1099-INT: Banks and other financial institutions will send these forms to you for documentation of any interest paid to you.
- 1099-DIV: Brokerages and other various entities distribute these forms to taxpayers to document any dividends paid during the tax year.
- 1099-B forms: Brokerage firms send these out to clients to report trades on stocks and bonds sales in a variety of investment accounts.
- 1099-G forms: If the government ever pays you money, in any form (i.e. – state tax refunds), they will send you this form.
- 1099-R: Your retirement plan custodian will issue these forms documenting any distributions from IRAs, pensions, and/or annuities.
- Schedule K-1: If you happen to be in a partnership, S-Corp, Trust, or Estate, you will receive this document. Schedule K-1 indicates your share of the net income or loss per the entity for the tax year.
- 1099-SSA: This form indicates any sort of Social Security Income you may have received during the year.
- 1098: You should receive this form if you paid any mortgage interest during the year.
- 1098-E: This document relates to any student loan interest you may have paid during the year.
Most of the above forms should be automatically generated and sent to the taxpayer in a timely manner. However, as the deadline approaches and you notice any missing relevant forms, you may need to contact the responsible organization directly to request for the appropriate information.
On top of the above listed info, you will also be responsible for assembling:
- Proof of self-employment income
- Documents indicating charitable contributions
- Cancelled checks or credit/debit card statements showing transactions related to estimated tax payments
- Receipts certifying qualified unreimbursed employee or self-employment expenses
Based on how complicated your tax year was, the aforementioned information will be needed to properly and accurately prepare your 1040, 1040EZ, or 1040A.
Here are two general tips for accurate tax reporting:
- Time: Preparation is key to ensuring your tax return is filed on time. Avoiding time pressure means you are less likely to make errors.
- Second Opinion: Before signing and submitting your tax returns, have a fresh pair of eyes to proofread them. A second opinion will act as a much needed safety net to further ensure accuracy of your tax filing.
The above info should be invaluable for your tax preparation coming up on Tax Day!