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Documents you need to do your taxes

Taxpayers spend 12 hours on average preparing their tax returns, according to IRS estimates. Yet, you can save time, cut back on stress and have an overall easier experience by gathering the documents you’ll need before it’s time to dive in.

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Income-related forms
If you made money this year—either by working, saving or investing—you should receive one or more of the following forms from any person or place that paid you.

Form W-2
Your employer will provide this document. It lists your total income, taxes withheld and other important information.

Form 1099-NEC
If you did any freelance or consulting work, you should receive this from any client who paid you at least $600 for the year.

Form 1099-INT
You’ll generally get this from financial institutions where you earned $10 or more in interest on savings or investments.

Adjustments to income
You may be able to deduct the following expenses from your gross income without having to itemize. Be sure to keep any documentation handy so you can quickly reference it.

Retirement account contributions

Student loan interest paid

Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions and/or health insurance payments if you’re self-employed

Employer-equivalent portion of self-employment taxes

These adjustments may come with certain caveats. The information in your documents can help you figure out if you qualify.

Deductions and credits
You’ll likely need documentation if you plan to itemize or claim tax credits. Among common deductions and credits:

Interest paid
Some interest, such as mortgage interest, may be deductible. You are likely to receive a Form 1098 documenting these payments.

Charitable donations
Keep all receipts. For motor vehicles, boats or airplanes valued over $500, the charity should send you Form 1098-C.

Medical expenses
If qualified out-of-pocket expenses exceed a certain percentage of your adjusted gross income, you may be able to deduct them.

Dependent care
You could get a tax credit if you paid someone to care for your child or certain other dependents so you could work or look for work.

Property taxes
Some state and local real estate taxes may be deductible.

Mileage
If you drove for certain IRS-accepted purposes, you may be able to deduct mileage. Be sure to keep all related receipts.

Tuition
You may qualify for tax credits if you, your spouse or a dependent studied at an eligible institution. You don’t need to itemize to claim these benefits. Use Form 8863.

All these deductions and credits come with rules and exceptions. Visit the IRS website at IRS.gov for a full list of qualifying itemized deductions.

Tips:

Generally expect all tax-related forms from employers, financial institutions and others to arrive by the end of February.

If you use tax preparation software or if an accountant does your taxes, you’ll likely need information from last year’s return. If you don’t have a copy, you can request one from the IRS.

Learning some key tax terms can help you to feel more confident about the tax-filing process.

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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial, tax or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional and tax advisor when making decisions regarding your financial situation.

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Bank of America and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.