Why a Tax Preparation Checklist Will Make Your Life Easier

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Preparing for the tax season doesn’t have to be hard or bothersome, but the main way to make it stress-free is to have a tax preparation checklist.

A tax checklist shortens the amount of time you will need to spend trying to remember what important documents your Tax Preparer may ask for.

Sometimes it’s the little items we forget to have ready that can cause the tax preparation process to be a bit draining and annoying.

I’m all about making the tax filing experience fun and easy for you to survive the 2019 tax season!


tax advisor

How to Use Your Tax Checklist

  1.  Sign up to download and print tax preparation checklist as a PDF here.
  2. Have a designated folder to file your tax document checklist (this can be a physical file folder or a digital file folder on your PC).
  3. Keep all the tax documents you receive in the same folder and check them off the list as you get them.
  4. Remove or block out the items on the tax preparation checklist that is not applicable to you .
  5. Add any additional information that is not on any of your tax documents (i.e., your bank routing number for direct deposit).
  6. Keep your sensitive information in a safe place.
Tax Checklist Deductions
Click image to download your FREE personal tax preparation checklist.

Tax Preparation Planning

As the new tax season approaches, it is good to know what your filing status will be and if you even need to file taxes.

How do you determine if you need to file a tax return?

  • If you are a U.S. citizen, or a resident alien
  • Your gross income (the amount of money you make before anything is taken out for taxes or other deductions) is above the recommended amount listed in the chart below
  • Your filing status and age meet the requirements on the chart below


What Filing Status Should I Use?

It is very important to select the correct filing status when filing your individual tax return. Many tax credits, deductions, and the amount of taxes paid are dependent upon the filing status selected.

At times, more than one filing status may apply to you. In this case you should work with your Tax Advisor to figure out which status is best for you.

The 5 Filing Statuses:

  • Single – You must file single if you are considered unmarried and do not qualify for any other filing status.
  • Married Filing Jointly – You can file as married filing jointly if you are considered married and your spouse agrees to file a joint return.
  • Married Filing Separately – You can file as married filing separately if you desire or if you cannot agree to file a joint return with your spouse.
  • Head of Household – You can file as head of household if you meet all of the following requirements:
    • Unmarried or considered unmarried on the last day of the year
    • Paid more than half of the cost of keeping up a home for the year
    • qualifying person lived in your home for more than half of the year except for temporary absences such as illness, education, business, vacation, or military service. If the qualifying person is the dependent parent, the qualifying person does not have to live with you.
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child – A widow or widower with one or more dependent children may be able to use the qualifying widow with dependent child filing status.

tax prep checklist 

What You’ll Need for Your Tax Preparation Checklist

I’ve broken down what information to look out for and to gather, to help make your tax planning a simple and easy process.

With this information, Tax Advisors will be able to give you an in-depth interview to ensure you will get all the deductions and credits you have earned.


Personal Information

  • Driver’s License
  • Social Security Card(s)
  • Dependents Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth
  • Last Year’s Federal and State Tax Returns (helpful, but not always required)


Income Information

  • W-2 Forms
  • Form 1099 – Pension or Retirement Income
  • 1099G Form – Unemployment Income
  • Form SSA 1099 Social Security Income
  • 1099 Int/Form Interest and Dividend Income
  • Form 1099B Sales of Stocks and Bonds
  • W-2G Form Lottery or Gambling Winnings
  • Form 1099C Cancellation of Debt
  • IRA Contributions
  • Form 1099G – State Income Tax Refund Amount
  • Alimony Paid or Received
  • Commissions Received

Business Information

  • Form 1099 Misc Self Employed Income & Expenses
  • Commissions Paid
  • Income and Expenses from Rentals
  • Schedule K-1 Income from Partnerships, S Corporations, Trusts, and Estates
  • Record of Purchase or Sale of Residence
  • Estimated Tax Payments


Personal Expense Information

  • Child Care Expenses & Provider Information
  • Form 1098 Mortgage or Home Equity Loan Interest Paid
  • Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes Paid
  • Form 1098-T – Tuition and Education Fees
  • 1098-E Form – Student Loan Interest

Forms 1095-A, B, or C – Health Insurance Marketplace Statement

  • State or Local Sales Taxes Paid – Foreign Taxes Paid
  • Moving Expenses
  • Lottery or Gambling Losses
  • Casualty or Theft Losses
  • Cash and Non-Cash Charitable Donations
  • Unreimbursed Employment-Related Expenses
  • Job Related Educational Expenses
  • Medical, Eye Care and Dental Expenses
  • Educator Expenses
  • State and Local Tax Payments
  • Other Interest Paid


More Tax Tips: Get the Ultimate 2019 Tax Preparation Bundle that could save you money this year right here!

Other Tax Preparation Checklist Things to Remember

You probably have income taxes withheld from your paycheck each time you’re paid which covers your tax responsibilities. This amount is shown in your W-2 form that you usually receive in January.

This form is one of the key tax checklist items to have on hand to make your preparation much easier.

If you’ve made estimated federal tax payments throughout the year, then be sure to have those document(s) ready for your Tax Advisor too.

Final Thoughts

As financial statements begin to roll in, place them in a dedicated folder or binder and mark “2018 tax information.”

In this folder you can also place your W2s, mortgage interest document, giving contribution statement, and any other tax related documents. This will not only make it easy for you, it will also make it a smooth process when your taxes are being prepared by a qualified tax advisor.

For your convenience, I’ve compiled a tax preparation checklist in PDF that you can download, fill out on your computer or mobile device, and save.

Hope this list was helpful and informative. Happy tax season from The Handy Tax Guy!

If you want more handy tax tips, then feel free to check out my latest articles here.  File your simple tax return here or sign up to get on the waiting list if you’d like to file with me.

tax checklist

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The Handy Tax Guy

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