[2021 Updates]

In January you said this would be the year you would get organized.

Even though 2020 was a crazy year for all of us, we want to make sure you have as many deductions as possible.  See our updated tax planning techniques list below.

This is the year you planned to get organized.  You didn’t want the stress of waiting until the last minute to gather all the necessary paperwork for your business year-end accounting. You didn’t want to get frantic phone calls because you forgot an important piece of paperwork.

Now it’s January again. It’s time to give your CPA or tax accountant the information for this year’s tax filing. You can already feel the pressure and tension creeping in and overshadowing the joy of the holiday season.

Instead of worrying, use this simple checklist that outlines what your tax accountant or CPA needs.

Tax Preparation Checklist

Personal Information

  • Social Security numbers and dates of birth for you, your spouse, your dependents
  • Bank account number and routing number, if depositing your refund directly into your account


  • W-2 forms
  • 1099-C forms for cancellation of debt
  • 1099-G forms for unemployment income, or state or local tax refunds
  • 1099-MISC forms
  • 1099-R for payments/distributions from IRAs or retirement plans
  • 1099-S forms for income from the sale of a property
  • 1099-INT, -DIV, -B, or K-1s for investment or interest income
  • SSA-1099 for Social Security benefits received
  • Alimony received
  • Business or farming income – profit/loss statement, capital equipment information
  • Rental property income and expenses: profit/loss statement, suspended loss information
  • Prior year installment sale information – Forms 6252, principal and interest collected during the year, SSN and address for payer
  • Miscellaneous income: jury duty, gambling winnings, Medical Savings Account, scholarships, etc

Adjustments to Income

  • Form 1098-E for student loan interest paid (or loan statements for student loans)
  • Form 1098-T for tuition paid (or receipts/canceled checks for tuition paid for post-high school)
  • For teachers: Canceled checks or receipts for expenses paid for classroom supplies, etc.
  • Records of IRA contributions made during the year
  • Receipts for any qualifying energy-efficient home improvements (solar, windows, etc.)
  • Records of Medical Savings Account (MSA) contributions
  • Self-employed health insurance payment records
  • Record of moving expenses
  • Alimony paid
  • Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE, and other self-employed pension plans

Deductions and Credits

  • Child care costs: provider’s name, address, tax ID, and the amount paid
  • Education costs: Form 1098-T, education expenses
  • Adoption costs: SSN of child; records of legal, medical and transportation costs
  • Forms 1098: Mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and points you paid
  • Investment interest expenses
  • Charitable donations: cash amounts, official charity receipts, canceled checks; value of donated property; miles driven and out-of-pocket expenses
  • Medical and dental expense records
  • Casualty and theft losses: the amount of damage, insurance reimbursements
  • Records/amounts of other miscellaneous tax deductions: union dues; unreimbursed employee expenses (uniforms, supplies, seminars, continuing education, publications, travel, etc.)
  • Records of home business expenses, home size/office size, home expenses
  • Rental property income/expenses: profit/loss statement, rental property suspended loss information

Taxes Paid                                

  • State and local income taxes paid
  • Real estate taxes paid
  • Personal property taxes
  • Vehicle license fees based on the value of the vehicle

Using this tax-planning techniques checklist is a stress-free way to gather your information at tax time. Your tax preparer will be so impressed! (No need to tell him/her that you pulled it all together at the last minute!)

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Tax-Planning Techniques. MSM Advisors proudly offers Virtual CFO and Accounting Solutions to businesses across the United States.

We bring vision, strategy, solutions, and momentum to your growing business. Contact MSM Advisors with your business accounting questions today.

This blog was originally published in January 2018. Updates were made in January 2021.