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Which documents I need to bring to do my taxes?


Come prepared

Many taxpayers wonder which documents they need to bring in order to make only one ride to the tax service company office. No one wants to waste time and money for commuting more than necessary. Even though different taxpayers must bring different relevant documents depending on their own situation or life changes, but in most cases you need to bring some prove of your income sources or expense you had for the year. Examples of such forms can be w-2s, 1099-G (unemployment), Social Security, Lottery or Gambling winnings, 1099-Misc (self-employment), 1099-INT (bank account interest), 1098 Mortgage interest statement, 1098-E, 1098-T, childcare expenses*, etc…

*Child and dependent care expense deductions are allowed for kids under 13 years old if you had earned income for the year. You need to provide name of an organization or person who take care about your dependents while you are at work and their EIN or SSN. The IRS are very strict about people who can baby sit your dependents in order to qualify for child and dependent care expense deductions. For example, you cannot pay to your spouse or other dependent for babysitting your kids. In other words, even if you paid to your 18 year old daughter to babysit her younger siblings the expense will be disallowed by the IRS.

Planning point

Before heading to do your taxes make sure that all your forms are accurate because sometimes even your employers do make mistakes. For example, they might put wrong EIN or your name on the w-2. This is important especially if you do your taxes through some tax service company. They might charge you some additional fees for correcting and resending to the IRS any extra information that occur not because of their fault.

Schools sometimes make also mistakes on 1098-Ts. For instance, they might forget to make a student as at least half-time student which might jeopardize your refund if applicable. Tax professionals go by the form and just clone it. They are not allowed and won’t mark at least half-time student if it is not on the form. Without this mark you will not automatically qualify for the American Opportunity Credit that year. So, if your earnings were low in 2012 than your education expenses won’t be any use to you because only AOC has 40% refundable portion and other portion just reduce your taxable liabilities if any.

Should I bring 1098-T if I did not pay out of pocket money for the school

Yes, you need to show 1098-T even if your tuition was covered by scholarships and grants. This document will prove that you or your dependent was really a student during the year and you are qualified for the earned income credit if applicable. In case you did not receive your 1098-T you need to ask your school about it. Usually 1098-T can be downloaded from the school website or received by mail if you paid some out of pocket educational expenses. So, if you don’t have it then just ask for it.