The first half of February is typically full of hearts, flowers and candies. After Valentine's Day, we are reminded that Tax Day isn't that far away. Give yourself some love and make sure you are organized and prepared for this tax season. We put together a basic checklist of items you might need in order to file your taxes.
The obvious and easier stuff to gather:
- Social Security numbers for yourself, your spouse and all dependents- Reminder: dependents can include elderly parents as well as children.
- Last year's tax returns both federal and state, if applicable- You won't need them to file this year's taxes, but it can be a good refresher of what you filed last year.
- Bank Account Information if you want your tax return to be directly deposited to your bank account
Gather all the documents that confirm the money you received during the previous year, which can include:
- W-2 Forms from employers. They needed to have this to you by January 31st.
- 1099 forms. There are many different types of 1099 forms and each of them typically end with a different suffix. For example: 1099-INT is for any interest you earned and 1099-DIV is for any dividends that were paid out.
- Social Security 1099. If you received Social Security during 2018, then you should have received an SSA-1099 showing the total amount of benefits for the previous year.
Adjustments to Income
These items can reduce the amount of your income that is taxed:
- IRA Account Contributions made during the year.
- 1098-E and -T forms. These forms are for student loan interest paid and tuition paid.
Deductions and Credits
There are several deductions and credits to help lower the tax burden, which can mean more money in your pocket. Under the new tax law, the standard deduction increased from $6,300 to $12,000 for single filers and from $12,700 to $24,000 for those who are married and filing jointly.:
- Child Care Costs. You'll need the provider's name, address, and tax ID to deduct the amount you've paid.
- Medical Expenses. This includes out-of-pocket expenses for deductibles, co-pays, medications, and insurance premiums that you paid. You can only deduct these expenses if they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for 2018.
- Property Taxes and Mortgage Interest.
- IRA Catch-up Contributions. This is only applicable for those over the age of 50. You can make up to an additional $1,000 contribution to your IRA (for a total annual IRA contribution of $6,500 for 2018) until the tax- deadline to claim it on your 2018 taxes.
It's important to note that you may not need every item on this checklist, some of them might not even be applicable to you. There is the possibility that you may need certain documents that we didn't include. This is a general checklist and we recommend checking with your tax professional to go over your specific situation before filing your taxes.
If you need a recommendation for a tax professional, we know some great CPA's that can assist you with any tax questions you may have!
Happy Tax Season!
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.