Reducing Filing Difficulties
How to Manage Tax Documents
February 4, 2019
Keeping track of tax papers can be less stressful and keep you from frantically searching for information needed to file your tax returns at the last minute. We hope this information will help you reduce filing difficulties and possibly your tax bills by knowing what documents to have at your fingertips, and to provide to us!
Receiving Your Tax Forms
Most of the papers you need to document the income, interest and withheld taxes arrived in your mailbox in January, with investment-related 1099s often coming in February. Email announcements that documents are available online will land in your email inbox. The postal service may deliver your W-2s in your physical mailbox – although some companies post them on a secure site for downloading. Mortgage providers, banks and other financial institutions often post important 1099 forms on their online accounts.
Paperless banking may have turned shoeboxes into receipt relics of the past, while these online statements often contain key backup records for such potential deductions as:
- Charitable donations
- Outlays for health care
- Gambling winnings and losses
- Property tax expenditures
Many folks ignore the line items on these statements until they start their annual tax-filing ritual. However, you may save time by taking a few extra minutes each month to jot down tax-related information, like:
- Expense title
- Check numbers
- Payee names
- Dollar amounts
Life Event Documents to Retain
Marital Related Documents
• Marriage certificates
• Death certificates of a spouse
• Divorce papers
• Adoption papers or child custody agreements
• Paperwork related to childbirth
Children Related Documents
• Newborn’s Social Security card
• Child care receipts and
• Details on college savings plans
Home Ownership Information
Keep such paperwork as closing documents in case there were prorations of real estate taxes or points when you closed that don’t appear on their year-end mortgage interest statement. Also, if you later sell the house, we will need to know the original cost. Save annual mortgage statements.
Federal & State Taxes from Previous Year
• These are handy as good refreshers of what you filed and documents you’ll need.
• Retirement account contributions. Keep track of your contributions to a traditional IRA or a self-employed retirement account.
• Education expenses. Documents help your deduction claim.
• State and local taxes. Save these documents so that they can be easily retrieved.