Tax guide

Filing Your Taxes 101

There are just a few things you should know about doing your own taxes before you get started with e-filing. Getting comfortable with the info in this section will really smooth out the process, help you finish sooner, and get your refund on the way.

ID, Please

Before you even start, everyone on your return has to have a taxpayer ID number. That can be a Social Security Number, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN).

You'll also need the correct date of birth for each person on your return.

When you add each person to your return, the name, birth date and ID number must match what the IRS has on file. The IRS uses what's on the Social Security card or other taxpayer ID. If the name, ID number, and date of birth don't match, the IRS will reject your return and ask you to correct the information.

What Documents Do I Need?

Preparing your tax return will be easier if the tax documents you need are organized and readily available:

  • Social Security or other taxpayer ID numbers for you, your spouse, and dependents
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse, and dependents
  • Income statements: Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, etc.
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks, brokerages, etc.
  • A copy of last year's tax return
  • Bank routing and account numbers
  • The amount you paid for childcare and the childcare provider's tax identification number
  • Form 1098 from your mortgage lender
  • Receipts for charitable donations

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