Here's a guideline as to what documents to bring in, and some expenses you may be able to deduct.
Most of these items we've talked about or will talk about every year.

Click here if you want to print out a more detailed tax organizer/drop-off form.

The "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017" have created changes in many of the commonly-used deductions and will be noted as TCJA.

Income documents:

  • W-2
  • 1099-INT (interest) or a summary if not issued
  • 1099-DIV (investments), 1099-B (stock sales); (often in a combined statement)
  • 1099-G (unemployment/state refund info)
  • 1099-SSA (social security), 1099-R (retirement)
  • W-2G (gambling and lottery)
  • and any other incoming-reporting documents (various W and 1099 series)

Those who itemize: bring a record of these expenses:

  • Medical and Dental: (think of all your senses)
  • eye doctor, contact lenses/solution, glasses; dentist and dental expenses; hospitals, outpatient fees, co-pays and premiums, long-term health premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, prescriptions, hospital/appts travel and parking, medical equipment including covid masks.
  • Expenses need to add up to more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income to start to count.
    • Car excise tax; estimated State tax payments
    • Homeowners:
  • Form 1098: year-end mortgage statement
  • interest on other home equity loans only if used for home improvements
  • real estate tax paid
    (if from escrow, will be on the statement, otherwise it's not the fiscal year billing, it's what you actually paid)
  • points paid (deductible for acquistion/improvement loans)
  • new home purchase, bring in copy of settlement sheet, prepaid real estate tax can count
    • Record of charitable donations
  • IRS requires you to keep proof of cash donations (email acknowledgements, cancelled checks, letter from the charity/church)
  • if single donation over $250, letter acknowledging value of gift net goods/services received, etc., (must possess this by filing time)
  • if over $500 noncash, receipts showing date and items given
    • Business expenses
    The TCJA has eliminated these deductions for employees, but remain deductible for self-employed, as applicable.


    • New family additions: name, date of birth, social security number
    • Daycare: if different from last year, name and address, EIN (or SSN if person providing care)
    • Adoption costs

    • Post-secondary tuition credit, for self/spouse and dependents
      Note: Stricter documentation now required if claiming the undergraduate credit; you must have the 1098-T, similar as if a W2!
    • Student loan interest
    Other income:

    • Rental property:
    • if property being newly rented, date "placed in service" (ready and available to be rented), original purchase price (bring in settlement sheet) or if being converted, FMV of property at time ready to rent
    • any structural improvements and additions, appliances, etc., which are depreciated
    • repairs, maintenance, mortgage interest, real estate tax, water and sewer, insurance, and other related expenses, etc.

    • Self-employment:
    • professional and membership dues, registrations and legal fees, professional journals/subscriptions
    • computer purchases, stationary, advertising, office expenses, % tax prep for Schedule C, etc.
    • business use of cell phone and internet; business purchases, office supplies, etc.
    • job search (in same profession): resumes, interview travel, job counselor/head hunter fees
    • health insurance, if you are not eligible to be covered through your/spouse's employer plan
    • self-employed retirement plans (ie, SEP-IRA/Keogh/Solo); deductible amount may be limited by Schedule C income
    • home office used regularly and exclusively for business
      (ratio of office to home, utilities, condo fee or rent, insurance, FMV/home purchase price)(mortgage int and r/e tax deducted in full regardless)
    • auto expenses:
    •   travel to clients, different job locations, home need to be principal place of business to deduct daily trips from home
    •   actual expenses/standard rate methods require total miles, so record odometer Jan 1 and Dec 31
    •   actual expenses: ALL gas, oil, repairs, AAA, car wash, etc. for entire year (or) standard rate for business miles
    • client-related business meals: purpose to meet/entertain clients and prospective clients
        (other client entertainment no longer deductible; ie accompanying to an event, etc.) (TJCA)
    • gifts: maximum deduction is $25/client, no limit to any small advertising giveaways

      Note: In two areas, IRS demands stricter substantiation in addition to the receipts:
        auto expenses: a (contemporaneous is best) written travel log and record of expenses
        meals: receipts indicating date, place, and business purpose (ie, why and with whom)

    Odds and Ends: Do any of these situations apply to you?
    • Teacher classroom expenses (K thru grade 12)
    • National Guard reservist: travel over 100 miles/stay overnight, deduction for travel
    • Alimony: only agreements prior to 2019, income is taxable and paying it is deductible (TJAC)
    • Traditional IRA or Health Savings Account contributions
    • Moved over 50 miles for a job-related reason: military personnel only
    • Foreclosure: Cancellation of debt may be excluded from income

    Use this information not as a comprehensive list, but as a reminder as to what documents you may need to organize.