This article was last edited on September 19, 2018. For updated information on tax checklists, read more here.
Have these documents in hand before you e-file:
- Social Security number for everyone listed on your tax return
- W-2 forms from employers
- 1099 forms for contract work completed
- Income from investments (i.e., from interest, dividends, stocks/bonds, and foreign investments)
- Prior year income from local/state tax refunds
- Business income records, if you own a business
- Income from unemployment
- Income from rental properties
- Social Security benefits
- Other income (e.g., gambling, award money from the lottery, jury duty, medical savings account income)
- Brokerage account statements
- Health insurance coverage documents
- Receipts (from charity, medical expenses, and any unreimbursed business expenses)
Know ahead of time—and then claim—the credits for which you are eligible. Each credit has its own eligibility requirements. The IRS website lists the most current eligibility requirements for each credit. Here are some of the most common credits that can reduce the amount you owe to the IRS.
- Earned income credit
- Child and dependent care credit
- Homebuyer credit
- Energy credit
- Savers credit
- Adoption credit
- Child credit
- Credit for the elderly/disabled
- American opportunity credit
- Lifetime learning credit
Report your expenses. If you’ve kept your records and receipts organized, this part of your tax return will be a breeze. Knowing how much money you’ve paid out during the year is important because this, too, can reduce the amount you owe the IRS.
- IRA contributions
- Mortgage interest
- Student loan interest
- Medical savings account (MSA) contributions
- Self-employed health insurance
- Moving/relocation expenses
- Medical expenses
- Qualified business expenses
- Theft loss
- Charitable giving
Grab those documents, and then do some research. Good planning goes a long way in a seamless online filing experience.
Now go #slayit
This article is up to date and accounts for tax law changes for tax year 2018 (tax returns filed in 2019). Learn more about tax reform enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act here.