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. 

Want to build wealth and reduce debt? Take the Military Saves Pledge and then visit for savings tips and inspiration!


Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | April 22, 2014

    Is your child a victim of Identity theft? Find out!

Saver Stories View all »

Living the Dream: This Military Couple Retired Early

Written by Jackie Toops | March 18, 2021

“Continuous dedication to financial peace pays off,” shares military couple, Denise and Jim. They would know, because at ages 52 and 53, they are already retired. The couple enjoyed life as an Army family for 32 and a half years and started planning for retirement decades ago. Denise shares, “We are not working a paid job, but are volunteering and meeting some personal fitness goals and enjoying some time together after many years spent geographically apart. It can be done!”


From Shopaholic to Saver

Written by Jackie Toops | January 13, 2021

Many of us spend too much money on things we don’t need, but we don’t always know why. It’s easy to get a quick fix from retail therapy, but before we know it, our hard-earned money is gone. Oftentimes, when we engage in a “shopaholic” lifestyle or sporadic shopping sprees, we still experience feelings of emptiness, but to make it worse, we now have debt, too.

Khanmany was a shopaholic who turned everything around. She is active duty Navy and shares, “I was spending too much on things I didn't need. I was going shopping for no reason and was trying to fill a void. I was running up every credit card I owned to include Victoria's Secret, Military Star, Navy Federal, TJ Maxx, JCPenney, Macy's, USAA, and was only paying the minimum payments.”


Building a Six-Figure Savings While Enjoying Life

Written by Jackie Toops | November 13, 2020

Does the idea of saving up hundreds of thousands of dollars seem impossible? How about doing it while still living an enjoyable lifestyle?

For military spouse Martina and her husband, an E-5 in the Navy, accumulating a six-figure savings has become a reality. One might think that in order to save this much, it would take a great deal of sacrificing and forgoing a certain quality of life, but Martina and her husband would disagree. “Over the past few years (about five), we've managed to save almost $120,000 while mostly living on one income. We've learned so much about easy ways to save money and live a good life,” shares Martina.