Tax-Time Checklist

Most people fear tax time because they dread having to gather up all that paperwork and documentation — they are certain that they will overlook something vital and mess up their bottom line. No worries this year — just follow this step-by-step checklist and you should have everything covered.

Begin With General Information

Checkmark-Iconnumber of dependents — children under age 18, dependent college students, others you support

Xmark-Iconsocial security numbers for each family member

Checkmark-Icontax return and supporting documents from the previous year

Xmark-Icontax preparation instructions for the current tax year

Checkmark-Iconproof of IRA contributions for the year

Count Up Your Charitable Deductions

Xmark-Iconadd up your mileage driving to and from volunteer activities

Checkmark-Icontally other volunteer expenses — items bought for completing your volunteer duties

Xmark-Iconfigure out your total cash donations

Checkmark-Iconadd up all qualified in-kind donations to approved charities

Xmark-Iconyou can count mileage back and forth dropping off donations

If You Have Children

Checkmark-Iconget your paid childcare provider’s tax ID and social security number

Xmark-Iconyou can count childcare expenses as a deduction — nanny, babysitters, afterschool programs

Checkmark-Iconif you have adopted a child, you can count adoption expenses

Xmark-Iconyou may be able to deduct education expenses and student loans

If You Own A Business

Checkmark-Iconcount supply and equipment expenses — you may have to depreciate large equipment expenses

Xmark-Iconhome office expenses — plus a portion of your household utilities and rent/mortgage

Checkmark-Iconmileage and other business travel expenses — meals, hotel, parking, etc.

Xmark-Iconmarketing, printing, and mailing costs

Checkmark-Iconpayroll and employment expenses

Xmark-Iconsales tax paid

Checkmark-Iconprofessional development and continuing ed — classes, workshops, manuals, etc.

Xmark-Iconautomobile loan or lease if the car is used exclusively or primarily for business

Checkmark-Iconother professional and business expenses

Other Miscellaneous Deductions

Xmark-Iconyou can count your tax return preparation costs as a deduction

Checkmark-Iconif you are divorced, tally up any alimony paid

Xmark-Iconmedical and dental expenses (if you are eligible for a medical deduction)

Checkmark-Iconmortgage interest paid on your personal or rental properties

Xmark-Iconmoving costs (if your relocation is eligible for a deduction)

Checkmark-Iconunreimbursed employment expenses (travel, lodging, etc.)

Xmark-Icontaxes paid

Proof Of Income

Checkmark-IconW-2 forms from employer

Xmark-Icon1099 forms from self-employment and contract work

Checkmark-Iconalimony received

Xmark-Iconunemployment compensation

Checkmark-Iconbusiness or farm earnings

Xmark-Iconincome from partnerships or trusts

Checkmark-Iconincome from real estate

Xmark-Iconfederal, state, and local income tax refunds

Checkmark-Iconincome from pensions and annuities

Xmark-Iconinterest from investments, savings accounts, etc.

Checkmark-Iconprize money won

Talk To Your CPA

Xmark-Iconthis information is not meant to replace qualified legal advice

Checkmark-Iconyou may not be eligible for all of these deductions

Xmark-Iconyour accountant can tell you which deductions you may take

Checkmark-Iconcan also advise you as to any limits on your deductions

Xmark-Iconalways have a qualified CPA prepare or review your return to prevent errors

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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