We have put together a top 10 tax checklist list to help you prepare for your most seamless online tax filing experience yet.
Here’s what you can do to get your maximum refund:
- Have a copy of last year’s tax return on hand. TaxSlayer makes it easy to upload a prior year return, which imports the data for you so you won’t have to re–enter information that hasn’t changed. TaxSlayer is highest rated for ease of use.
- Know your filing status. You’ll file as single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. The status you choose sets the rate at which your income is taxed.
- Gather all necessary documents for filing. Documents include W-2s, 1099s, Social Security number, receipts (e.g., from donations to charity, medical expenses, and unreimbursed business expenses), documents from other income sources (e.g., prior year state/local tax refunds, businesses you own, investments, unemployment, social security benefits, rental properties, and medical savings account).
- Consider your significant life events/changes during the past year. Have you moved? Did you change jobs? Was there a death in the family? Did you get married? Divorced? Are there any new members in your household, such as a child or other dependent? Major life changes could impact your filing status and therefore, your tax return information.
- Remember to report income from your other job(s). Generally, to report self-employment income, taxpayers file a Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ. Social Security and Medicare taxes are filed using Schedule SE (Form 1040), Self-Employment Tax. It’s also worth checking to see if you’re eligible for the home office deduction. With TaxSlayer’s Self-Employed package, you’ll have a 1099 tax expert in your corner to answer your questions.
- Keep up with the latest tax law changes. News programs are pretty good about reporting on tax law updates. You can also check the IRS website or TaxSlayer for tax news that could impact your refund.
- Know what you can claim as a credit. Common credits include earned income credit, child and dependent care credit, child credit, homebuyer credit, energy credit, saver’s credit, adoption credit, and credit for the elderly/disabled. Deductions are important, too. All our packages, including the Simply Free package, feature a deduction/credit finder.
- Look for Form 1098–T from your educational institution. Form 1098-T is a tuition statement that shows the amount you’ve received in scholarships and grants, along with payments the school received for tuition and related expenses. A side note: Check to see if you qualify for the following education credits: (1) American Opportunity Tax Credit and (2) the Lifetime Learning Credit.
- Were you affected by a natural disaster? If so, you might qualify for tax relief. Check the IRS website for the latest news and updates.
- Use TaxSlayer’s tools and resources. TaxSlayer’s Refund Calculator estimates your federal tax refund. You can stay updated with tax law changes, view state-specific tax information, and more on our website as well.
The information in this article is current through tax year 2019.