Your tax prep checklist

Published on Apr 05, 2022

Your tax prep checklist

Though taxes aren’t due until April 18, this year, the IRS has already begun accepting returns. As such, it’s not too early to get your tax paperwork in order, especially if you think you’re due a refund and don’t want to wait too long to get your hands on it.

What documents do you need to file your taxes? A lot, potentially. Here’s a roundup of what you should have ready when you sit down to tackle that return.

Personal information

You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know their Social Security number, and don’t realize they need it to file a tax return. Not only do you need your own Social Security number, but you’ll generally need your spouse’s and children’s as well.

Income records

Whether you earned income from your main employer, a side gig, or investments, the IRS wants to know about it. As such, you’ll need documentation summarizing all of the money you received in 2021, including your:

You’ll also need a record of what you received in:

Having all of this information ready to go will ensure that you report all of your income. And that’s a good way to stay off the IRS audit list.

Expense records

There are a host of valuable tax deductions and credits you may be eligible for. To claim them, however, you’ll need to know what you spent on:

  Mortgage interest.

Keep in mind that some of these won’t apply if you’re taking the standard deduction. For example, mortgage interest generally only comes into play when you’re itemizing. There are, however, some tax deductions you can claim without itemizing, like IRA contributions, student loan interest, and educator expenses, so you’ll need those details handy.

Additionally, if you’re self-employed, you’re allowed to deduct the cost of doing business. That means you’ll need a record of what you spent on:

Get moving

Clearly, there’s a lot of potential paperwork to gather during tax season, so the sooner you get started, the less stressed you’ll be. Remember, even if you’re hiring someone to prepare your taxes for you, you’re still the one responsible for digging up the above information, and if you get moving now, you’ll be well-positioned to complete your return well ahead of the April 19 filing deadline.