Tax Prep: IRS Says Gathering Your Documents Is the First Step
This year’s tax prep may be a bit more complicated than usual for many people. For starters, many who have never filed taxes before will be looking to file in order to claim the balance of their enhanced child tax credit. Others may be dealing with fewer deductions than usual (or a higher income than in 2020).
To ensure you are taking all the deductions you deserve, and reporting all income you received, it’s a good idea to gather all the paperwork you might need — especially since there are new documents the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will send to taxpayers this year.
Information You’ll Need to File Your Taxes
For starters, the IRS says you’ll need the Social Security numbers for everyone on your tax return, including children. If you recently had a child in 2021, make sure to get them a Social Security card before you file.
If you don’t have a Social Security number because you’re not a U.S. citizen, you can obtain an ITIN (individual taxpayer ID number) to pay taxes on income earned in the U.S.
You’ll also need your correct, current address. Having your bank account number and routing number can expedite your refund. Getting your tax refund delivered via direct deposit eliminates the possibility of lost or stolen checks.
Paperwork You’ll Need from the IRS
The IRS will send taxpayers a variety of documents this year. You’ll need to hold onto them and reconcile all pertinent information when you file your taxes. These forms include:
- Form 1095-A — Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.
- Letter 6419 — 2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit Payments.
- Letter 6475 — Your 2021 Economic Impact Statement.
Paperwork You’ll Need From Other Sources
Depending on your income, investments, and stimulus money you earned last year, you’ll also need to gather a variety of paperwork from different sources.
- W-2 form (obtained from your employer prior to Jan. 31, 2022).
- 1099-K or 1099-MISC forms from organizations that hired you as an independent contractor or freelancer.
- 1099 forms for income received through unemployment insurance, dividends or investment distributions.
- 1099-INT for interest received from bank accounts or investments.
Information to Gather for Deductions
If you are itemizing expenses and deductions on your taxes this year, you’ll need to gather documents showing your deductions. Some deductions may include:
- College costs, including books and tuition.
- Childcare costs.
- Medical expenses.
Itemizing expenses is especially crucial for independent contractors who may be paying taxes on 1099 income. If you aren’t sure what expenses you can deduct as a contractor, consult with a tax accountant who specializes in 1099 income and small businesses.
Some expenses you may be able to deduct include:
- Transportation costs.
- Marketing and advertising.
- Business materials.
- Office supplies.
- A portion of business-related food and entertainment expenses.
- Gifts related to your business.
Keep in mind you don’t need to submit receipts — or bank or credit card statements — to the IRS when you file your taxes. But you should have the information available to ensure you are filing accurately, and to prove your deductions in case of an IRS audit.
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