Tax Document Checklist: Everything You Need to File Your Taxes

Use TaxSlayer's Tax Prep Checklist to help you file

The information in this article is up to date for tax year 2023 (returns filed in 2024).

To make the e-filing process quicker, gather your forms and tax documents before you begin. Remember that the sooner you file, the sooner you’ll get your refund. Below is a tax document checklist with information and records you’ll need to make slaying your taxes easier this year. 

Before getting started on tax preparation:

  1. Download and print the tax document checklist shown above. 
  1. Keep the checklist in a safe place to grab when you’re ready to file taxes. 
  1. When you have all your tax documents, use our checklist to make the filing process a breeze! 
  1. Enter the information that isn’t available on your tax documents, such as reports from finance tracking apps and bank account information if you choose to receive your refund via direct deposit. 

Tax documents to have ready:

Personal Information 

  • A Social Security or tax ID number for everyone included on your tax return -You need your own number, but don’t forget your spouse and dependents (where applicable) as well. If someone doesn’t have a Social Security number, you’ll need their TIN instead. What’s this?
  • Date of birth for everyone on your return
  • Driver’s license for you (and your spouse if applicable)

Income and Investments

  • Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement – Your W-2 shows how much you earned and how much was withheld for taxes. Your employer has until February to send your form. If you haven’t received yours by then, go ahead and request it.
  • Bank or financial institution statements – Did you make contributions to an IRA? You’ll need Form 5498. Are you paying down student loan debt? Be sure to grab your Form 1098-E. Did you take out a home mortgage? Be sure to have your Form 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement.
  • Last year’s state refund amount – If you itemize your deductions, then your state refund is considered income for tax purposes.
  • Information about stocks you traded or sold (Forms 8945 and 8949) – If you purchased or traded any stock this year, you probably experienced a gain or a loss, which will need to be reported on your tax return. 
  • Other miscellaneous income records – This could include award money, gambling winnings, lottery payouts, etc.
  • Any (and all) Form 1099s – There are several different types of 1099. Some of the common ones include:
    • 1099-NEC – if you are self-employed and received $600+ from a client.
    • 1099-DIV – if you received dividends.  
    • 1099-G – if you received money or benefits from the government. 
    • 1099-K – if you made third-party transactions (through PayPal or Venmo, for example). Beginning in tax year 2023, the IRS requires taxpayers to report any and all third-party transactions over $600.
    • 1099-R – for distributions from a retirement plan, IRA, pension, annuity, etc. 
    • 1099-MISC – if you have paid at least $600 in rent, prizes and awards, medical and healthcare payments, or other income payments. 

Read also: How to File Taxes with a W-2 and 1099

Dependent Info

  • Child and dependent care expenses – On top of needing SSNs and dates of birth on hand for everyone on your return, you’ll also need to report any qualifying care expenses if you plan to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
  • Education expenses – If your child is a full-time student, you may qualify for certain education tax breaks. See which documents you’ll need under the education section below.

Self-Employment and Business Records

  • Business expense records – These could be receipts, credit card statements, records of checks you’ve written, etc.
  • Quarterly estimated tax payment receipts – If you make installments to your tax bill during the year, the IRS (and your state) should send you a record of what you paid – similar to a receipt.
  • Mileage records – In order to get a deduction for your travel, you’ll need to know how many miles you drove for work purposes.
  • Home office expenses – Taking the home office deduction? You’ll need to know how big your space is in square feet. If you decide to use the actual expense method, you’ll also need a record of your home-related expenses, like utilities and mortgage (or rent). Read more about the home office deduction.

Retirement  

  • Contributions to an IRA, 529, or other retirement accounts 

Education  

  • Tuition and qualified expenses paid (Form 1098-T) – Report this information to see if you qualify for an education credit
  • Student loan interest paid (Form 1098-E) – If you paid any interest on your student loans, it could be deducted from your taxes. 

Medical Expense Records 

  • Receipts for unreimbursed medical expenses – These could include exams, surgeries, and preventative care. It could also be braces, glasses, hearing aids, prescriptions – even transportation to and from treatment.
  • Form 1095: Health insurance coverage forms – If you are enrolled through the Marketplace, you’ll receive Form 1095-A. Insurance providers will send a 1095-B for individuals they cover. If your employer offers coverage, they should send you a 1095-C.
  • Social Security benefits – If you receive Social Security, you’ll receive an SSA-1099 in January showing the total amount of benefits you received for the year.

Charitable Donations 

Homeownership Info 

  • Property tax receipts – If you itemize your deductions, you could write off a portion of the property taxes you paid.

If you choose the fully guided filing experience with TaxSlayer, you will be asked questions about the information on these documents. Then, your answers will automatically be filled in where they belong on your tax return. Otherwise, you may choose to enter the info on your own.

Either way, you are guaranteed a 100% accurate return and your maximum possible refund. 

Frequently Asked Tax Document Questions

Are you still trying to figure out which papers to save? We’ve answered some FAQs below: 

What paperwork do you need on hand to prepare your income taxes? 

The exact forms required to prepare your taxes depend on your individual circumstances. But most people will need to have the following documents handy. 

  • Personal information – Driver’s license (for you and your spouse), bank account and routing numbers, birthdates, and Social Security numbers for everyone on your return. 
  • Income forms – Like W-2s from your employer or 1099 forms related to your sources of income. 
  • Retirement account documents (if applicable) 
  • Medical expense forms 
  • Homeownership information (if applicable) 

Download the tax documents checklist linked above to get the full list of everything needed to slay your taxes this year!  

Will I get a tax document for my 401k? 

Technically yes, your 401k contributions are documented on your W-2. When you file that year’s tax return, you must report 401k contributions as an adjustment on Schedule 1 (Form 1040). 

How long should you keep tax documents? 

It depends. The IRS requires you to keep tax documents for at least three years (link) after they’ve been filed. But there are some instances where you might need to hold on to your records for longer. 

Let’s say you’ve made a mistake and decide to amend your return, and you’ll have up to three years to file your amendment and get your money. The IRS also has up to three years (sometimes six) to audit your return. So, it’s a good idea to keep your documents on hand in case of emergencies. 

Read more about receipt organization and document storage. 

How do I document mileage for taxes? 

First, make sure you track each work-related trip. You can do this the old-fashioned way by looking at your odometer and doing the math once you arrive at your destination, or you can find the “trips” setting on your car’s odometer.  

The next step depends on your preference. To calculate the business mileage deduction, you can use the standard mileage method or the actual expense method.  

 

What mortgage documents do I need for taxes? 

You can deduct mortgage interest on a loan used to purchase, construct, or improve your primary or secondary home. So, keep those receipts and other documents related to those transactions. 

Do I need a 1095-A to file my taxes? 

Yes. If you’ve received a 1095-A in the mail, you’re going to want to keep it. This form will help you fill out Form 8962 to calculate your premium tax credit.  

Scroll to Top