Even if you hire a professional to help with your taxes, it's still on you, as a taxpayer, to provide that person with all the right forms. Here are the documents you'll need to file an accurate tax return.

Personal information

Though the following aren't tax documents per se, you'll need this information in order to complete your return:

  • Your Social Security number or Tax ID number.
  • Your spouse's full name and Social Security number or Tax ID number.
  • Your children's full names and Social Security numbers.
  • Your bank account and routing number, so you can arrange for your refund (if you're owed one) to come via direct deposit.
The word taxes spelled out in tiles in front of a calculator

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Wage documentation

The IRS is entitled to a piece of all your earnings, so it wants to know what those entail. To that end, you'll need your:

  • W-2: The form from your employer that summarizes your income for the year as well as taxes paid on it.
  • 1099-MISC: This form summarizes income you earned on a self-employed basis.

Other 1099 forms

In addition to a 1099-MISC, you may receive a:

  • 1099-INT: This form summarizes interest income you earned during the year.
  • 1099-DIV: This summarizes dividend income you earned during the year.
  • 1099-C: This is used to report the cancellation of debt.
  • 1099-R: This lists distributions from a retirement plan like an IRA or 401(k).
  • 1099-S: This lists proceeds from real estate transactions, such as the sale of a house.

Additional forms the IRS needs

On top of your W-2 and 1099s, you may need to provide the IRS with:

  • Form 1095-A: This contains information about Marketplace insurance plans you enrolled in, including premiums paid and subsidies received.
  • Form 1098: This summarizes the amount of mortgage interest you paid for the year. This will be relevant if you seek to itemize on your tax return rather than claim the standard deduction.
  • Form 1098-E: This summarizes the amount of student loan interest you paid for the year. You may be eligible to deduct some of your student loan interest, depending on your income.
  • Schedule K-1: This is issued annually for investments in a partnership and will summarize any income you may have received from one.
  • Form 5498-SA: This summarizes your health savings account (HSA) contributions for the year.
  • Form 5498: This summarizes your IRA contributions for the year.

Records and documentation

In addition to the above forms, you may need to provide the IRS with certain information, especially if you're itemizing on your taxes. Be prepared to come up with:

  • Records of all business expenses you incurred during the year.
  • Records of estimated tax payments you made during the year.
  • Records of all state and local taxes paid, including property taxes.
  • Records of all child-care expenses paid if you're claiming the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
  • Records of all medical expenses you paid if you're claiming a medical expense deduction.
  • Receipts for classroom expenses if you're an educator.

Gather your tax documents ahead of time

It's never a good idea to wait till the last minute to gather your tax information, because you may find that you're missing key forms or documents that hold up the filing process. A better bet is to round everything up well ahead of each year's tax-filing deadline. Doing so could help you avoid a world of stress while also ensuring that you're able to file your taxes on time and avoid penalties.