Everything you should be doing to prepare for tax season

Here's the ultimate tax preparation checklist that includes everything you should be doing to prepare for tax season and the paperwork you might need.

It's never too early to start preparing for tax season.
  • The next tax day is Monday, April 15, 2019.
  • To prepare for tax season you'll want to gather some previously filed documents and obtain other documents you may need to file for tax returns.
  • Start tracking your income and deductions as soon as possible.
  • Their social security and tax ID numbers
  • Their dates of birth
  • Childcare payment records (this includes the care provider's tax ID number)
  • Adoption papers (if applicable)
  • Form 8332 to show that a custodial parent is releasing their right to claim the child to you, the noncustodial parent (if applicable)
  • Any alimony payments that have an ex-spouse's social security number
  • Any death certificates
  • Form W-2 for wages/salary, federal and state tax withholding, tips and earned income credit (Your employer should send this to you by January 31, 2019)
  • Form 1099-G if you are unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits
  • Form 1099-Misc for compensation from freelance work (You should receive a form from all of your clients)
  • Form 1099-R for annuity income, IRA and pension
  • Form 1099-Div for those who have earned dividends
  • Form 1099-B, 1099-S for income from sales of property and stock
  • Form W-2G for any income from gambling
  • Any other income from prizes and awards (like lottery winnings), jury duty pay, alimony, or rentals
  • Records of all expenses if self-employed, including credit card statements and receipts
  • Records of expenses for rental homes
  • Records of expenses related to investments
  • Real estate and property tax records
  • Charitable donations, including non-cash and mileage driven for charitable purposes
  • Records of medical expenses, including payments made to doctors, dentists, clinics, or hospitals
  • Insurance payments
  • Childcare expenses, including daycare and babysitters
  • Any scholarships or fellowships received
  • Qualifying educational expenses
  • Interest on student loans
  • Job-related vehicle expenses
  • Classroom expenses for K-12 educators
  • Relocation expenses not covered by employer
  • State and local taxes paid excluding withholding
  • An invoice showing any sales tax paid on a vehicle
  • Any contributions made towards retirement
  • Expenses related to natural disaster losses, rebuilding, and repairs
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a great tool called
  • The IRS has teamed up with private tax preparation companies like the
  • to offer
  • — a free and low-cost electronic filing service to those who earned less than $66,000 in 2018. Your information is protected from unauthorized use and will not be disclosed or used for any other purpose but tax preparation without your consent.
  • The
  • program offers free tax assistance to individuals who earn less than $54,000 annually, speak limited English, or have disabilities. The volunteers are IRS-certified to aid with basic income tax preparation and electronic filing for those who qualify.

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