Tax guide

Your Filing Checklist

Organization can be the difference between an income tax return that's done easily and in record time, and one that’s nothing but roadblocks. Organizing works best when it's done early, so here are our top 10 hints to help you complete your tax return on quickly – and do it right!

  1. Get your personal information together. You'll need Social Security Numbers, birth dates and the correct spelling of the names of everyone on your return. The IRS goes by the spelling on your Social Security card, so if a name is incorrect on the card, that's what the IRS will expect on your income tax return.
  2. Gather the income documents you'll need for your return. This typically means getting the W-2s for the tax year you're reporting; any 1099s (showing income such as unemployment, Social Security benefits, health care reimbursement or state tax refunds); interest statements from savings accounts or other investments; rental income statements; and any other record of income you made during the year.
  3. Gather documents that can support any adjustments to your income. You'll need records of IRA contributions for the year; contribution records to any self-employed pension plan; Form 1098-T for tuition paid or Form 1098-E for student loan interest paid; any self-employed health insurance payment statements; and receipts for qualified classroom expenses if you're an educator.
  4. If you want to itemize your deductions, you'll need additional records. These can include receipts for qualified medical or dental expenses; receipts of charitable donations (whether in cash or donated property); records of adoption expenses; and any child care costs such as day care, day camp or other expenses.
  5. If you don’t know which filing status you should use, do a little research. Check out the IRS’s What’s My Filing Status? page for a clearer picture.
  6. To direct-deposit a refund, make sure you have your routing and account numbers handy. If you're not sure that the numbers you have are correct, check with your bank.
  7. Get ready for state income tax returns. Special record-keeping may be needed. For example, your state may require you to report the amount of purchases you made by mail order or over the internet. If you haven’t kept track of those purchases and their total amount, be prepared to either estimate or simply attest that you didn’t have any out-of-state internet purchases. Another example: A few states offer a rebate for renters. If your state does, you’ll need to have a total for your rent paid for the tax year.
  8. Have a copy of last year’s income tax return handy. It's always good to have on hand, because you'll need your prior-year AGI to e-file your return.
  9. Set aside some dedicated quiet time to do your return. If you do your return in a quiet environment, you’re much more likely avoid simple mistakes and to be successful when you e-file.
  10. On your account, make sure all your personal information is up to date. When you’re ready sit down to start your taxes this year, that’s one screen already finished. Also make sure we have your correct email address – click My Account to make sure.

It’s not too good to be true. See what others are saying about filing taxes online with