Tax Checklist: See the 5 IRS Tax Forms You’ll Need To Get Your Refund

Tax forms.
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Tax season is here, and if you’re looking forward to a big refund, you probably want to get your return filed as early as possible. Be sure you have everything in order before doing your taxes. Here are the most common tax forms you’ll need to file your return and get that tax refund.

Learn: Reasons You Might Not Get a Tax Refund This Year
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Do You Have Form 1040?

In 2018, the IRS discontinued Form 1040-EZ and Form 1040-A. Those forms were consolidated into the standard Form 1040. Those with more complex returns will add additional schedules as needed.

Do You Have Your W-2?

Your employer should have provided you with a W-2 form by the end of January. This tax form tells you how much money you made last year and how much was withheld for federal and state taxes, Social Security and Medicare. You’ll need all these numbers for your tax preparation.

Should You Have 1099 Forms?

If you received income from somewhere besides your main employer, you’ll get a 1099 form. These types of tax forms can be issued by your bank or broker for interest or dividends you earned, from Social Security or your IRA custodian for retirement income you received, for gains from stock or real estate sales or for money distributed from a health savings account. Self-employed workers will use the 1099-MISC form.

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Should You Have 1098 Forms?

If you paid interest on a mortgage or on a student loan, paid college tuition or donated a vehicle, you should get a 1098 form. Your mortgage lender will send a 1098 so you can deduct the interest paid on your mortgage or home equity loan. If you paid student loan interest, you’ll get a 1098-E; and, if you paid tuition, you’ll get a 1098-T, so you might qualify for education credits.

Related: New Homeowners, Here’s What You Need to Know for Your Taxes

Where Is Your Tax Return From Last Year?

Having last year’s tax return handy will help you file this year. It’s common to have the same kinds of deductions each year; so, if you can see what you did last year, it might help speed the process.

Other Tax Forms and Records

It’s a good idea to have access to your bank and credit card statements for the year, because you might be able to deduct some of the items you purchased. If you needed other, extra forms last year, you might need those forms again.

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Tax time is never fun, but being prepared by having a tax documents checklist will make that task go more quickly, so you can get that refund sooner.

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About the Author

Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance websites including GOBankingRates, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, USA Today, CNBC,, and more.
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