Checklist: Paperwork to Gather Before Meeting with a CPA to File Your Taxes

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While you might think the first step in filing your taxes is to reach out to and hire a CPA, you can make the process much more efficient by gathering the necessary paperwork and having it ready to go.

In this article, we’ll walk through a quick checklist of paperwork you’ll need in order to have a CPA successfully and completely file your taxes. Keep in mind that you may not need paper copies, as many accounting firms utilize cloud-based technology and online portals to upload your files. With virtual meetings as well, there may be no need for you to even take the time to drive to an office location.

Please keep in mind that the below information is based on individuals, and that depending on your situation, you may need to file even more paperwork than is listed below. Our goal is to get you as prepared as possible, to make your first meeting with your CPA as productive as it can be.

Another note: If you are a business looking to hire a CPA for your tax filing, there will be additional information required.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Employment and Independent Contractor Income Documents

Whether you are a full-time employee, self-employed, or a mixture of full-time employed with contract work on the side, make sure you have all documents related to “traditional” work. This includes.

  • W2 Forms
  • 1099 Forms (there are a range of types of 1099 forms, 1099-NECs and 1099-MISCs are usually the ones you’ll receive for payments received as a non-employee)

Make sure that you have forms for all gig work, side hustle, freelance work, and traditional employee-employer relationships. If you don’t file the correct paperwork, the IRS will typically be alerted as businesses also file their 1099s with the government, meaning you will face potential penalties and fines.

Additional Income Documents

Additional income covers everything from rental income and interest income to income from reselling items (usually if you make more than $600, you will be issues this by the service), Social Security Income, and brokerage statements.

  • 1099 Forms (There’s a broad range of 1099s for additional income sources, including 1099-INT for interest income, 1099-MISC for income from rentals, awards, and prizes)
  • SSA-1099 for Social Security Income
  • 1099-DIV for investment income statements
  • 1099_G for unemployment income

Make sure that you check every bank account, investment account, and income-generating accounts. This includes savings and checking accounts that offer interest.

Retirement Account Documents (if you DID NOT take distributions)

If you have not taken distributions from your IRA account, 401k, or other retirement account, you will need to file the appropriate forms. You will need to report this regardless of whether you made new contributions this year.

  • Form 5498 for IRA, 401k, and other retirement account contributions
  • Form 8606 for non-deductible contributions made to a traditional IRA

The bank or financial institution through which your account is managed should automatically send you the correct forms.

Retirement Account Documents (if you DID take distributions)

If you have taken distributions from your IRA account or 401k, you will need to file the appropriate forms.

  • 1099-R for distributions from IRAs, Pensions, etc.
  • Form 5329 for additional taxes on qualified plans (if you took early distributions)

The bank or financial institution through which your account is managed should automatically send you the correct forms.

Healthcare Proof of Coverage, Savings Accounts

Your insurance provider will automatically provide the necessary documents. This can include:

  • Form 1095-A, -B, or -C for proof of healthcare coverage coverage
  • 1099-SA if you took distributions from an HSA
  • 5498-SA if you made contributions to a Health

Note: your W2 will often have your HSA contributions amount listed.

Homeownership-Related Paperwork

If you own a home, you will need to gather all paperwork related to your homeownership.

  • 1098 for Mortgage Interest
  • Property Tax Information
  • Receipts for any home improvement expenses that could qualify for tax credits

Remember, if you own a home that generates rental income, you will also need to gather paperwork for that.

Other Things to Look Out For

Keep in mind that each tax filer’s scenario will be unique, so it’s best to speak with a CPA and ensure you have everything you need. You may need additional paperwork if…

  • You’re working with a new CPA this year
  • You were married or divorced this year
  • You had a child
  • You adopted a child
  • You moved states
  • You changed jobs
  • You have dependents
  • You had education-related expenses
  • You had major health expenses

This prep list is really about getting you ready for that first meeting. Make sure you also have crucial information about yourself, including your full name, SSN, date of birth, and the same for any spouse or dependents.

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