What Should I Bring to My Appointment?

(For a printable pdf version of the list below, click here.)

Please provide:

  • A signed copy of the Engagement Letter, if you have easy access to a printer. If not, don’t worry about it; you can sign it later. (If I prepared your taxes for you last year, I probably already have a signed copy on file for you, so you can skip this.)
  • A pdf or paper copy of your prior year tax return, if not prepared by me. If you have a pdf copy, you can send it to me electronically. If I prepared your taxes last year, I already have a copy.
  • A picture ID, for identity verification purposes, if you don’t have a copy of your prior year tax return.
  • Account number and routing number for your bank account, if you think you will be getting a refund and would like to have it direct deposited.
  • All tax forms you have received that show income, such as W-2’s, 1099’s, and K-1’s. Please verify that the name and social security number are correct on all forms you receive. If you have income from any other sources, please provide a summarized list. (Tips, jury duty pay, prizes, scholarships, gambling, foreign income, etc.)
  • All tax forms you have received that show deductions. These are usually 1098’s for things like mortgages and student loan interest.
  • Dependents – I will need to know their full names, birth dates, and social security numbers. (This info may already be included on your prior year tax return.)
  • Charitable and/or political contributions – please provide a summarized list. If you’ve donated more than $500 worth of “stuff” to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or wherever, the summary would need to include the dates of the donations, the resale value of the donation, and a rough description of the items donated.
  • Self-employment income – please prepare a summarized list of income and expenses. See this pdf. This includes independent contracting, sole-proprietorships, single-member LLC’s, or any other unregistered small business.
  • Rental income – please prepare a summarized list of income and expenses. See this pdf. If you have made significant renovations (beyond regular maintenance) to the property, please provide me with the cost of the renovations and the date they were completed.
  • Childcare expenses – I will need the name, address, phone number, and taxpayer identification number of the childcare provider, and the amounts you paid for each child. Include only pre-K expenses, after-school care, or summer daycare.
  • College tuition – please determine the amount you paid for tuition and required fees during the year. (This may or may not be reported to you on a form 1098-T.)
  • Estimated tax payments – I will need a list of the dates and amounts paid.
  • Bought a home or refinanced a mortgage – please provide a copy of the HUD-1 (closing costs/statement).
  • Energy-saving home improvements – please provide a summary, as these may be eligible for a tax credit.
  • Alimony or spousal support – I will need to the name and social security number of the payer or payee, and the amount paid/received.
  • Health insurance and medical expenses – I’ll need to know if you had any gap in health insurance during the year. Medical expenses are generally deductible only to the extent they exceed 10% (or 7.5%, if over age 64) of your income.
  • Home-office deduction – please provide me with a summarized list of your expenses. (Rent, utilities, maintenance, HOA fees, etc.) For more information, see here.
  • Unreimbursed work-related expenses, prior year tax preparation fees, financial advisor fees – please provide a summarized list. In most cases, these expenses are only deductible to the extent they exceed 2% of your income.
  • Other tax-related items for which you may not have received a tax form – please provide a summarized list. IRA contributions (Roth, Traditional, SEP, etc), 529 plan contributions, HSA contributions, moving expenses (to a new city), etc.
  • Anything else that you think might be relevant. You know your situation better than I do!

If you have any questions about the above items, or if you don’t know if they apply to you, don’t worry – I can go over everything in detail at your appointment.

For record-keeping purposes, I will scan a copy of all documents you provide that are relevant to your tax return. The original copies of all documents will be returned to you when your tax return has been prepared and filed, or at any earlier time if you request them.

The information on this page is current only up to the original date of publication: June 6, 2010. For more information, please see the Terms of Use.