Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, you need certain information and documentation to file your tax return. Here’s a list of items taxpayers commonly need to complete the job.
Let’s start with the obvious.
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Gather all the documents that confirm the money you received during the previous year.
Deductions help reduce your taxable income, which generally means a lower tax bill. The key to claiming deductions is documentation.
You don’t have to itemize to benefit from some deductions. These are listed directly on Form 1040 or, to a lesser extent, on Form 1040A. More deductions are available if you itemize expenses on Schedule A.
Here’s a rundown of some popular tax deductions. Make sure you have documentation for each before you file:
Note that state income taxes paid should be on your W-2, but remember to add any state estimated taxes you paid during the year.
Credits are deductions’ more valuable cousins: They provide dollar-for-dollar cuts in any tax you owe. But as with deductions, you need documentation to claim them. Here are some popular tax credits:
Most of us have income taxes withheld from our paychecks to cover our tax liabilities; that amount is on our W-2 forms. But if you made federal estimated tax payments during the year, have this amount handy, too.
This tax checklist covers preparation issues common to most filers, but taxes are different for each of us. Be prepared to tailor the list above to your situation.
To learn more on potential tax savings, see NerdWallet’s 12 tips to cut your tax bill.