Tips to Prepare You for Your Tax Preparation Appointment

Sometimes preparing for your tax appointment can be the most daunting part of filing a tax return. We’re here to help. Use this checklist for a seamless tax preparation appointment.

  1. Bring last year’s tax return. It’s not required, but it is helpful.
  2. Don’t forget to bring Social Security cards (or ITIN letters) for everyone who will be listed on your tax return.  Tax sites need to see the actual card (or a picture of it), or a statement from Social Security with the name and social security number (SSN). You can’t claim the Earned Tax Credit (EITC) without this information. PRO TIP: photocopy all your family’s cards on one piece of paper, and keep it in the tax return envelope for next year.
  3. Bring your picture ID. The tax site will need to verify that you are really you. Make sure your spouse brings theirs if you’re filing jointly.
  4. If you experienced identify theft, bring your ID Theft PIN from IRS. Your return can’t be submitted without it.
  5. Gather all your tax records. Did you receive a W-2 from each place you worked? Do you have your unemployment statement? PRO TIP: Wait to schedule your appointment until all your documents are collected. An amended return can take a long time to process.
  6. Daycare expenses? Bring your provider’s name, address, and tax ID number/SSN as well as the total amount you spent. Make sure you claim the Child & Dependent Care Credit.
  7. Did you or any of your dependents go to college this past year? Bring Form 1098-T with the total amount of tuition, fees, and scholarships. PRO TIP: record how much was spent on books and equipment.
  8. Do you have unreimbursed PCS expenses? Bring the receipts! While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did away with allowing civilians to deduct unreimbursed moving expenses, active duty military can still deduct these expenses on Form 2903 if the move is a Permanent Change of Station one.
  9. Are you a reservist who must travel more than 100 miles from home for duty? You can claim unreimbursed travel expenses on Form 2106.
  10. Let’s talk money! Bring your checkbook or another way to verify your bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit. PRO TIP: Split your refund into multiple accounts using Form 8888. This is a great way to save a little and/or get ahead on some bills.
  11. Filing online? Know your last year’s adjusted gross income (AGI) (from line 37 of your Form 1040; line 21 on Form 1040-A, or line 4 on Form 1040-EZ.). If you used the same website and username last year, the program will be able to carry the AGI forward.

BONUS: Save money by getting your taxes prepared for FREE by local IRS-certified volunteers at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site near you! Visit to find a site. 

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