Tax Prep Checklist: All the Documents You Need to File Your Taxes

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

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 you your form. If you haven’t received yours, 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). 
    • 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.


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


  • 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: 

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). 

Learn more about reporting your 401k contributions here.  

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 deduction, you can use the standard mileage method or the actual expense method.  

Learn more about deducting business mileage here.  

What mortgage documents do I need for taxes? 

You can deduct 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. 

Get more information about the mortgage interest deduction here.  

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.  

Read more about Form 1095-A

This article was last updated on 10/18/2022.

This article is intended to provide general information to the public and does not provide personalized tax, investment, legal, or business advice. You should seek the assistance of a professional for advice on taxes, investments, and any other financial, legal, or business matter pertinent to your individual situation.

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