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Tax Preparation Checklist

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Mika, Staff Writer

Friday, 25th June 2021

Preparing your taxes isn’t the most thrilling thing you get to do during your lifetime, and often, it can be downright frustrating. 

As frustrating and dull as we might find it, however, it’s something that has to be done. 

So how can we streamline and make the whole process far less stressful and, dare we say it, enjoyable? One of the best ways we can do this by creating a tax preparation checklist.

Simply put, a tax preparation checklist is a list of things, including information and documents that you’ll need to fill out your tax preparation. 

If you attempt to fill out your tax preparation without a checklist, it can quickly become a little overwhelming. 

Let’s take a look at what your tax preparation checklist should include!

Personal information 

Although it seems shockingly obvious, the top of your checklist should be your own personal information. This should include a copy of last year’s taxes, both federal and state returns. Having this copy of last year’s taxes will help you make sense of this year’s and indicate the information you had to provide the year earlier.

The next lot of personal information needs to be the small numerical details such as your social security numbers. Not only do you need your own social security number, but you will also need to provide the numbers for your spouse or any dependencies such as children and elderly relatives.

Your income

Next to add to your tax preparation checklist is a detailed list of your own income and a record of all the money received throughout the past year. This should include your W-2 forms issued by your employer, so keep an eye for that. Alongside your W-2 forms, you should also get your 1099 forms too. The IRS uses a variety of 1099 forms, and knowing which one you need will depend on the type of payment you received.

Deductions 

This is usually the section we all look forward to. 

Deductions help you reduce your taxable income and will usually mean your lower your tax bill - good news for you, hey! The key to filling deductions is to provide documentation. This will help you in the future if you are ever audit or contact by the IRS. 

Let’s make a list of deductible money and see if you are able to make them on your own tax return. 

Retirement account contributions

Any contributions you make to a retirement account such as an IRA can be deducted from your return. Just make sure you stay within the contribution amounts!

Educational expenses

Educational expenses such as student tuition fees can be deducted from your tax return. Any interest you pay on your student loan can also be deducted; just be sure to have your 1098-T and 1098-E forms at hand.

Medical bills

Rarely a cause for celebration, any medical bills you had to pay can then be deducted once you do your taxes. There is, however, a clause, only bills that total more than 7.5% of adjusted gross income for most taxpayers can be deducted.

Charity donations

Although we never give to receive, your charitable denotations can be deducted from your tax return - good karma coming straight back to you!    

To sum up

While the tax preparation procedure can seem like an overwhelming one, in just a few short steps, it’s relatively easy to start making sense of it. 

Having a tax preparation checklist is one of the best ways of putting all this information in order. The great thing is that once you have it ready for one year, next year’s taxes become easier, and so on! And, if you really don’t feel like organising this all yourself, try searching for an accountant specializing in tax preparation on Bark!

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