3 things you will need to get organized for your tax return and any refund

A woman sitting at her desk, reviewing materials to help her get organized.

With the arrival of tax season, it’s time to get organized so you can file your tax return as soon as possible. The sooner you file, the sooner you can get your tax refund, if any, which you can use for the financial future of your family. Here we’re sharing some of the things that you’ll need to help you get organized.

1. Proof of income

These are the most common forms taxpayers receive about their income. You may receive others if you earn income from different sources.

  • Form W-2: From your employer, or employers if you have more than one job
  • Form 1099-MISC: From your clients, if you’re an independent contractor or self employed
  • Form 1099-INT: From your bank, if you earned more than $10 in interest

2. Documentation about your expenses

Here are common expenses that many taxpayers who itemize their deductions report on their tax returns to lower their taxable income and possibly how much tax they pay. You may have other deductions depending on your situation.

  • Receipts for business expenses, usually for anyone who is self-employed
  • Medical expenses that may apply to you, such as dental, vision, treatment, surgeries
  • Form 1098 for proof of interest payment on your home loan, if applicable

3. Information about you, and your children and relatives that you care for

Having handy information about you and your dependents, such as your children or family members that you care for, will help you avoid delays in preparing your tax return.

  • Social Security Number for you and your spouse, as well as your dependents OR Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you don’t have a Social Security Number

Other useful documentation

Bank routing number and bank account number to include on your tax return if you would like the IRS to direct deposit any refund, if you have a bank account.

If someone helps you prepare your taxes, ask these questions
A new federal tax law was recently approved that will affect different taxpayers in different ways, starting with the federal tax return you will file in 2019. Plan ahead by asking your tax preparer:

  • How will the changes to the standard deduction affect you?

A portion of your income is deducted and is not taxed, called “deductions.” Taxpayers can either itemize their deductions or take the standard deduction. The standard deduction amount will almost double from what it was in 2017. Therefore, if you claim the standard deduction, the new law may lower the amount of your 2018 taxes (reported on your 2019 tax return).

  • What are the changes to deductions for state and local taxes?

You can usually deduct state and local taxes, such as income tax, sales tax and property taxes. However, starting in 2018 the amount you can deduct for state and local taxes that you paid will be limited to $10,000.

Congratulations! Getting organized is the first big step toward filing your tax return early. Remember, the sooner you file, the sooner you can get your tax refund, if you are due one.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not tax advice. Please speak to your accountant or tax adviser for tax advice.