Preparing your 2019 tax return never seems like an easy feat. It often feels easier to just put off your tax preparation. And sure, procrastination can keep a tax headache at bay for a little while. But you’re still better off taking care of your taxes sooner rather than later. In the face of last year’s government shutdown and the recent tax reform, being prepared with a handy tax prep checklist has never been more important.
Why should I use a tax prep checklist?
Even if you’re having a professional tax preparer complete your tax return, a tax prep checklist can definitely come in handy. Using a checklist will help ensure you have all the information and documents needed to file.
You’ll need to gather forms and documents that fall into the following categories:
- Personal information
- General income
- State & local taxes or sales tax
- Homeowner/Renter information
- Medical expense & health insurance
- Education expenses
- Childcare expenses
- Retirement expenses
- Charitable donations
- Alimony paid
- Federally declared disaster
- Tax preparation
Aside from helping you organize your documents and forms, tax prep checklists will also help get you in the right frame of mind to start filing. Kick procrastination to the curb by using your own tax prep checklist.
How should I use this checklist?
Move down the list slowly, finding documents you need and storing them safely in a folder meant for your 2019 tax documents.
Keep in mind that you may not need every form and document listed on the checklist. In fact, if you’re using the standard deduction, it may not be worth tracking down every single document on the checklist. Even if you itemize your tax deductions, you may not need every item on this list depending on your income and the expense amounts. Feel free to mark off any of these unnecessary items for you so you can focus on the forms you do need.
Once you have all the documents you need from this checklist, you’ll be ready to file. If you don’t have all the documents you need to file before Tax Day 2020 (which is April 15), you can always file a tax extension.
Personal tax prep checklist
Click here or on the image below to view and download our Individual Tax Prep Checklist.