What Documents Do I Need to File My Taxes?
One of the most stressful things in the process of filing your taxes can be the first stage…the preparation stage. Even though a lot of taxpayers (unfortunately) deal with the stress and anxiety throughout the entire process. If you are feeling some unwanted stress just thinking about where to begin, you are not alone. You might be asking:
What documents do I need again? Which ones don’t matter? Did I miss something? Oh crap, my accounting isn’t up to date…
I want to make sure this preparation time is as simple as possible for you.
I don’t want you unsure or confused about documents. I’ve put together some organizers and some other resources for you to use to keep things organized so once you’re ready, you can simply hand it over to your awesome accountant and let them take it from there-maximizing your take home to the absolute legal limit. (Oh if you are looking for such an accountant, visit here).
Let’s list out a few documents and items that you should start gathering and putting together.
- W-2 Forms- These are the most common form for income
- 1099 Forms- There a different variations of the 1099. You will need all of them you receive
- Rental Property- A profit and loss statement (your income and expenses) for any rental property
- Sales of investment property
- Other income
- 1098 Forms- If you own a home, this form will show the mortgage interest paid
- IRA Contributions
- Self-Employed Health Insurance
- Student Loan Interest
- Medical Expenses
- Property Tax
- Charitable Contributions
- Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
- 1095 Form- This shows you had health insurance coverage for the year
Now, the above lists are some of the most common items to be looking for. If you’re looking for something a little more robust and specific I got something even better.
In order to help you gather your tax docs, we have attached some tax organizers. Please choose the organizer that fits your preference and situation. For example, if you don’t like the long organizer, don’t fill it out. Just use the shorter one. This means that you will probably not use every attachment and that is ok.
Below is a brief description of each attachment to help you better choose which ones to use and which ones not to waste time on.
- The first “2016 Tax Organizer (Long)“ is the very lengthy tax organizer. It is very thorough. If you fill this out, don’t fill out the shorter version.
- The second “Individual Organizer_shorter“, is a shorter organizer. Some of our clients find the long version is too thorough. So we created this shorter one to cover the most common items we see. This short version is sufficient for most.
- The third “Rental Organizer“ should be used if you have a rental property. It is designed to help you organize the income and rental expenses. If at any point you aren’t sure what you can and can’t write off, call or email us and let’s talk about it.
- The fourth “Business Organizer“ can be used for your business activities. Keep in mind, if you are using something like QuickBooks or Freshbooks or mint.com, all we need is the Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet. You wouldn’t need to fill this out since it would just be duplicating something you already gave us. If at any point you aren’t sure what you can and can’t write off, call or email us and let’s talk about it.
- The fifth “Business Tax Organizer“ is a different layout than the above attachment. It’s an excel file designed to help you report your business income and expenses. If you don’t have a system to tracking your business activity, this might be the file you want to use.
- The sixth is a Tax Engagement Letter. This is a copy of what you will get via HelloSign. Use the HelloSign link (https://www.hellosign.com/s/acc0b5c6) to get this to us as fast as possible. It will only take a few seconds.
- The seventh is a reader’s digest version of common business deductions and categories. This will give you an idea of things you can write off for business purposes.
If you have a business and if you use QuickBooks, we just need a “standard” Profit & Loss report and a balance sheet report. Please do not send an “accountant’s copy” to us for your tax preparation (The accountant’s copy is something used when you are sending the books back and forth between bookkeepers and reviewers. Some of our clients are having us do this service for them. We are happy to review your books too for an additional service price).
If the above templates aren’t your thing, and you have developed your own system for getting us your tax info, then do that. We are just providing recommendations and resources in case they help.
Remember tax preparation can be stressful. However, with these resources and tools it should make the processes a lot less painful. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. The quote is something like that.
If you need additional guidance, email us and we can send you a compiled list of what you sent us last year to make it even EASIER.
If you’re wanting to schedule a time to review your situation and find out how much money Incite Tax can help save you this season, simply email us and one of our tax genuises will get something scheduled with you!