Getting it All Together
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Getting it All Together

Gathering your tax related information is often labor intensive and filled with stress. Do you have everything you need? Here are some suggestions to help you get organized.

Gather and sort
Get all your tax related information and sort your information into the same buckets (categories) as your tax return. Some of the more common items are noted here.

AIncome and related documents
  • Wages (W-2s)
  • Interest Income (1099 INT)
  • Social Security
  • Alimony
  • Dividends (1099 DIV)
  • Investments (1099 B)
  • Business Income (K-1s)
  • Winnings (W-2G, 1099 G)
  • Other income items
B. Itemized deduction documentation
  • Taxes Paid
  • Medical/Dental expenses
  • Casualty/Theft losses
  • Charitable contributions
  • Investor/other expenses
  • Unreimbursed employee expenses
  • Interest expenses (mortgage/home equity)
C. Documents that support Income Adjustments
  • Student loan interest
  • Educator expenses
  • IRA contributions
  • Moving expenses
  • HSA/MSA contributions
  • Alimony paid
  • Other education expenses
D. Tax Credit Information
  • Child and dependent care expenses
  • Adoption expenses
  • Education expenses
  • Other credits
E. Business/Rental Information
  • Sort income and expenses for each business activity
NOTE: Remember this list is not all-inclusive, it is here to help you sort your information into a usable form to make tax filing easier.

Not Sure Bucket.
There may be things you receive that you are not certain about needing for tax filing purposes. These items should be gathered in one place for review.

Time to sum.
Once the information has been categorized, create a summary of the information using an organizer or summary you create.

Is something missing?
Pull out last year's tax return and create a list of things you needed last year. Use this as a checklist against this year's information. While this process will not identify new items, it will help identify missing items that qualified in prior years.

Finalize required documentation.
Certain deductions require substantiation and/or logs to qualify your expense. Common areas that require this are: mileage records, medical expenses, moving expenses, charity, and qualified business expenses. While these logs should be maintained throughout the year, now is a good time to make sure they are complete and ready to go for tax filing.

With the amazing mix of taxable income items, various deductions and credits, it is very easy to overlook something. Hopefully, by following these tips that risk is greatly reduced.

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