A checklist for preparing taxes

You have probably received most of the information necessary to complete your individual federal and state income taxes for 2009. Employers were required to have W2s postmarked by Feb. 2, and various other forms are sent throughout the first several weeks of the year.

Here is a checklist of paperwork to compile before you prepare or have a qualified tax professional prepare your taxes this year.


Wages: You have received a W2 from each of your employers with very specific information for the income section of your tax return. This is the most common form of income for most people who were employed a majority of 2009.

Interest income: Any income you had from accounts that paid interest to you in 2009 would be sent to you on form 1099-INT. An example would include a savings account.

Dividend income: Investments that paid dividends are considered income as well. Form 1099-DIV displays the amount you received from dividends within taxable investment accounts. This would not include IRAs.

Capital gains or losses: If you bought or sold investments in 2009, the possibility of capital gains or losses exists. Form 1099-B shows the amount of tax burden you will incur.

Retirement plan or IRA withdrawals: Taking distributions from retirement plans initiates the need for form 1099-R. Withdrawals from IRAs and other retirement accounts are treated just like ordinary income. The exception would be Roth IRA distributions, which are tax-free.

Social Security: Income from the Social Security Administration is listed on 1099-SSA.

Rental income: Rental properties that you own provide an income stream that is taxable. Make sure you also account for your deductions such as receipts for expenditures and any 1098s you get for mortgage interest or real estate taxes.

Business income and pass-through profits and losses: If you are a business owner, you need to determine how to account for your income. This can be different based on the structure of your organization (single member LLC vs. multiple member LLC, S-Corporation, etc.). You may receive a K1 reporting your share of your company’s profit or loss. Complex tax issues such as these often require the expertise of a tax professional.


Medical expenses: You should keep all receipts for qualified medical expenses.

Personal property taxes: Compile your county property tax statements for auto, boat and motorcycle registration.

Real estate taxes: If you have a mortgage, your real estate taxes are typically paid from your escrow account. Form 1098 lists the amount you paid for 2009.

Charitable contributions: Keep bank records or written communication from the organization to which the donation was made. For non-cash contributions, you must be able to display written communication from the donor showing the specifics of the donation.

Miscellaneous expenses: There are so many to list, but a few include tax preparation fees and safety deposit box fees.


Dependent care credit: It is very important to document and retain records for all childcare costs.

Tuition and fees credit: This credit is available for the taxpayer, spouse or dependents and is found on tax form 1098-T.

Energy tax credit: Several energy saving measures can have the additional benefit of tax savings. Save your receipts for qualified energy-efficient appliances, doors, windows, insulation, etc.


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