The documents you need to file your tax return depends on your situation and is different for everyone. Some individuals receive a W-2 from their employer, whereas others own a business and the documentation required can be more complicated. Consider what, if any, changes happened during the year.

  • Did you get a new job?
  • Did you and your spouse have a child?
  • Did you decide to start a business?

Taking a moment to reflect on everything that happened during the year will help you determine what you need to file your taxes.

Below is a list of items that will help you gather the items needed to file your tax return:

Personal/Dependent Information

  • Social Security or Tax ID Numbers
  • Date of births
  • Identity Protection PIN, if received by the IRS
  • Routing and account numbers to receive your refund/pay amount owed
  • Childcare records (including the provider’s tax ID number)

Sources of Income

  • Form W-2
  • Unemployment Income (Form 1099-G)

For Self-Employed Individuals

  • Forms 1099 or Schedule K-1s
  • Record of all expenses – bank statements, receipts, etc
  • Any assets acquired during the year to capture depreciation
  • Information for home office deduction
  • Any quarterly estimated tax payments

Rental Income

  • Records of income and expenses
  • Rental asset information to capture new depreciation

Retirement Income

  • Pension/IRA/Annuity Income (1099-R)
  • Social Security/RBR Income (SSA-1099, RBR-1099)
  • Traditional IRA Basis form

Investment Income

  • Interest and dividend income statements (1099-INT, 1099-OID, 1099-DIV). These are usually sent from the bank or from the broker at the end of January
  • Income from the sales of stock (1099-B, 1099-S)
  • Health Savings Account (1099-SA)
  • Transactions involving cryptocurrency (new in 2019)

Consider other income items (like gambling, hobby, royalty, etc.). 1099s are required to be filed by January 31, so before you go to your accountant to drop off all of your documents, be aware that you may receive a 1099 in February.

To itemize your deductions in 2020 as an individual, you would need more than $12,400 in eligible expenses ($24,800 for married filing jointly). With that being said, you still might be eligible to itemize if you have more than the standard amount of the following expenses:

  • State and local taxes (capped at $10,000)
  • Charitable donations
  • Medical expenses (above the 7.5% AGI limit)
  • Home mortgage interest

There are many items to consider when gathering your tax documents at the beginning of the year. This list should help you gather the needed information so you have a better meeting with your accountant.

If you have any questions regarding what documents you need to bring to your accountant to prepare your tax return, please contact Abacus CPAs at 417-823-7171.


Josh Woods is an Analyst at Abacus CPAs, LLC. Josh is fantastic at making comparisons, documenting information, and defining priorities. He can be counted on to research historical details, become an expert in areas of special interest, and make strategic decisions. Josh’s hobbies include sports, working out, reading, spending time with friends and family, and going to the lake.

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