Tips for Tax Procrastinators: Use a checklist

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When you're getting your tax documents ready, it's helpful to follow a checklist to make sure you've got everything you need. There are hundreds of tax forms and thousands of tax situation, so this checklist doesn't cover them all. But it's a great basic list to follow when you're getting together a simple tax return:

  • Personal information for all people being included on the tax return, including social security numbers
  • W-2s for wages
  • 1099s for small business or subcontractor income
  • 1099s for interest or dividends received
  • Information on last year's state tax refund
  • Information on sales of stocks
  • Retirement account contributions
  • Education costs for college or graduate school
  • Medical expenses, including health insurance paid
  • Items related to your home: mortgage interest, property taxes
  • Charitable contributions
  • Child care expense details (provider, tax i.d. number, total paid)
  • State or federal estimated taxes paid last year
  • Small Business - Information on your income and expenses if you will be filing Schedule C
  • Rental Properties - Information on your income and expenses if you will be filing Schedule E
If you're using a professional tax preparer, they can provide you with a "tax organizer" which is a long questionnaire that will help you gather all the documents you'll need.

Read more Tips for Tax Procrastinators

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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