Make your tax list and check it twice

1/8/2014, 11:28 a.m.
OK, it’s time to pull together your 2013 tax records for your annual tax return. Probably not at the top ...
Tax time is here so be sure to have all the important financial documents you need from the past year.

OK, it’s time to pull together your 2013 tax records for your annual tax return. Probably not at the top of your list of favorite things to do!

But getting organized can save you money when you show up at your tax preparer’s office. Think about it – if you just have everything jammed in a shoebox and the tax preparer needs to sort through it, make sense of it, and tell you what’s still missing, that costs you money. After all, their time is valuable – especially at this time of year.

So exactly what do you need to bring to your meeting with a tax professional?

“The list of items you may need is long, but it’s not complicated,” National Society of Accountants (NSA) Executive Vice President John Ams said. “Make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to get it all organized ahead of time and your life will be much easier. Accountants love working with clients who are organized, and your tax return will be completed and filed in short order.”

Here’s what you typically need:

  • Wage statements/W2s

  • Mortgage interest statement (Form 1098)

  • 1099 Forms: 1099-MISC for Work Performed as an Independent Contractor, 1099-R for Pensions & Retirement Income, 1099-SSA for your Social Security Income, 1099G for your State Tax Refund

  • Investment information: Year-End Statements for all investment accounts, such as brokerage accounts, retirement accounts (401k, 403b, IRA, ROTH, Annuities), etc. Remember your Form 1099-B for Sale of Stocks/Mutual Funds, if applicable, including your original purchase price for shares sold.

  • Investment-related expenses, including management fees charged by a financial advisor for non-retirement accounts, safety deposit box rental costs, etc.

  • Interest and dividend income statements

  • Medical and dental expenses, including medical insurance premiums

  • Insurance premium expenses for long term care, life insurance, etc.

  • Charitable contributions, including mileage and expenses incurred while volunteering

  • Home energy improvement receipts for energy-efficient heating and air conditioning equipment, windows, solar panels, etc.

  • Foreign bank account information, including foreign taxes paid

  • Unreimbursed employee business expenses for expenses you incurred on the job but for which your employer did not reimburse you

  • Sales tax records if you purchased a car, boat, RV, or mobile home in the tax year that may be tax deductible (depending upon whether Congress renews this tax benefit)

  • Lottery or gambling winnings/losses

  • Social Security/unemployment income

  • Self-employed business income and expenses

  • K-1 forms from partnerships, s-corporations, and estates

  • If you are self-employed, a detailed list of business inventory held on December 31 of the tax year

  • Income and expenses from rental properties

  • Estimated federal and state taxes paid, including a list of the check amounts and dates paid

  • Alimony paid or received

  • Record of purchase or sale of residence, including closing statements

  • Real estate and personal property taxes paid

  • Job-related educational expenses

  • Educational expenses for children

  • Childcare expenses and provider information

  • Job-hunting expenses, including a mileage log to log in each trip related to job-hunting

  • Social security card/number

  • Driver’s license

  • Dependents’ Social Security numbers and dates of birth

  • Last year’s tax return

  • Tax preparation fees paid during the prior tax year

Looking for a qualified tax professional? NSA has an online directory you can use to identify candidates in your area. Check it out at

http://connect.nsacct.org/NSACCT/FindaProfessional or call (800) 966-6679.