Take Your Social Security Card With You
For NEW clients, this is necessary, for returning clients, it is not needed. This allows me to verify your name spelling and SSN. Please bring your spouse & dependents SSN's as well.
If you're unable to track these down, you may want to request a new one through your local Social Security Administration office to get a replacement card (you'll need it eventually, right?). At the very least, I'll need a copy of your prior year return.
You may not have all the items below, but if you have them, I'll need them (I've highlighted the most common):
- Form W-2 (wage and salary income)
- Form W-2G (gambling winnings)
- Form 1099-A (foreclosure of a home)
- Form 1099-B (sales of stock, bonds, or other investments)
- Form 1099-C (canceled debts)
- Form 1099-DIV (dividends)
- Form 1099-G (state tax refunds and unemployment compensation)
- Form 1099-INT (interest income)
- Form 1099-K (business or rental income processed by third-party networks)
- Form 1099-LTC (benefits received from a long-term care policy)
- Form 1099-MISC (self-employment and other various types of income)
- Form 1099-OID (original issue discount on bonds)
- Form 1099-PATR (patronage dividends)
- Form 1099-Q (distributions from an education savings plan)
- Form 1099-QA (distributions from an ABLE account)
- Form 1099-R (distributions from individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, and other types of retirement savings plans)
- Form 1099-S (proceeds from the sale of real estate)
- Form 1099-SA (distributions from health savings accounts)
- Form SSA-1099 (Social Security benefits)
- Form RRB-1099 (Railroad retirement benefits)
- Schedule K-1 (income from partnerships, S corporations, estates, or trusts)
If you received other income that was not reported on the forms above, I will just need the total provided from you (along with any expenses to go against that income).
The documents listed below are items you would have received for money you spent during the year. If you didn't receive a form for any of these expenses, I'll at least need your total paid during the tax year because it may be deductible (I've also highlighted the most common):
- Form 1097-BTC (bond tax credit)
- Form 1098 (mortgage interest)
- Form 1098-C (charitable contribution of vehicles)
- Form 1098-E (student loan interest)
- Form 1098-MA (homeowner mortgage payments)
- Form 1098-T (tuition for higher education/college)
- Business expenses (summarized by type and amount)
- Child care expenses (summarized by provider and amount)
- Gambling losses
- Medical expenses
- Moving expenses (only available to members of the Armed Forces)
- Personal property tax, such as car registration paid
- Real estate tax bills
- Realized gain/loss report for any stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other capital investments sold during the year
- Receipts or acknowledgment letters for gifts to charity
- Rental expenses (summarized by property, type, and amount)
Many tax professionals will provide you with a printed organizer to help you collect all this data so it will be at your fingertips when you're ready to file next year.
Here are some options to track these down:
If you're missing a W-2 form, ask your employer to give you a new copy. Employers are required by law to keep copies of your W-2 forms and all other payroll information for at least four years. Some employers charge a nominal fee for a second form.
If you're missing a 1099 form, these may come from several sources and replacing one depends on the type of income it should report. Banks may have tax documents available for download from their websites, or you can call their customer service number to get a new 1099-INT mailed to you. Investment brokers should be able to mail you additional copies of Form 1099-B and 1099-DIV to report stock trading and dividend activity, or you might be able to download copies from the brokerage's website. Be sure to download a copy of your year-end statement or a realized gain/loss report because information in those reports can supplement the information found on the Form 1099-B. Contact your clients for missing 1099-MISC forms.
You Can Get Copies From the IRS
The IRS receives copies of all your tax documents, so either you or your accountant can request copies from this source as well. There are three ways to accomplish this:
- Use the Get Transcript Online application on the IRS website. Ask for a copy of your "Wage and Income Transcript." Specify the year for which you're missing documents. You'll have to register with the website and take steps to confirm your identity. Keep in mind that IRS staff is as overworked as most other employees, so you or your accountant may have to file for an extension to pay your taxes after the April due date if you can't get what you need in time.6
- Mail or fax Form 4506-T to the IRS. This form is used to request transcripts of various tax documents. Check the box for line 8, "Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcript." The IRS will mail out the transcript, usually in about 10 business days.7
- Visit a local IRS taxpayer assistance center. An IRS agent can print out the wage and income transcript for you.
This is a simple matter of preparing and signing either Form 8821 or Form 2848. We can advise you which form you need and prepare it for you.
The wage and income transcript is a computer printout of the information contained in your various tax documents. It won't look like photocopies of your W-2 and 1099 forms. Instead, it will be a transcript of the data contained in those forms.
The IRS only retains the federal information on these forms. State and local tax withholdings won't show up, so you might want to contact the institutions that appear on the transcript to obtain a copy of those original documents.