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What Do You Need To File Taxes? A List of All the Documents To Have

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Tax filing can feel like a never-ending stack of paperwork — especially if you find yourself digging for documents as you try to work through your return. Having a checklist and preparing your information ahead of time will help ensure you’re ready to file your tax return. Read on and find out which documents you need to file taxes.

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Tax Preparation Checklist: What Do I Need To File My Taxes?

A checklist for all the information you need can make the tax preparation process easier. Often, your income and tax figures are provided to you on special forms, but sometimes you have to rely on your own records for your source of income. Although most people have their taxable income reported to them — and the IRS — on official tax forms, you are required to report all of your taxable income, even if you don’t receive a form.

For example, a company only has to prepare a W-2 for you if you earned more than $600. However, if you earned $500, you’re still required to report that income on your tax return even though you likely won’t receive a W-2.

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Here’s a tax-filing checklist of all the information you need to file your tax return:

Personal Information

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Dependent Information

Income From Working

Learn: How To File Self-Employment Taxes

Make Your Money Work

Investment Income

Pandemic Stimulus Payments and Credits

Distributions From Special Accounts

Other Income

Make Your Money Work

Related: Taxable Income You Must Report To Avoid an IRS Audit

Childcare Costs

Job-Related Expenses

Beginning in 2018, the only employees eligible to deduct job-related expenses are armed-force reservists, qualified performing artists, fee-basis state or local government officials, employees with impairment-related work expenses or eligible educators. Some of the expenses you’ll want to keep track of include:

Tax Preparation Costs

Find Out: Tax Year Deadline Dates You Need To Know

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Adoption Costs

Educational Costs

Healthcare-Related Records

Charitable Contributions

Retirement Savings

Real Estate Property Costs — Including Your Primary Residence

Deductible Taxes

Federal Disaster Area Provisions

Other Information

Although all of the items on this tax checklist might not apply to your situation, taking the time to gather the information you’ll need before beginning work on your taxes is a smart move. Not only will you save time, but you also should have all the information you need to get the tax deductions and tax credits you deserve. Plus, you’ll never have to ask, “What do I need to file my taxes?”

Read more about every single tax deduction you could possibly ask for.

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Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.