Tax Preparation Checklist for First-Timers

Tax Preparation Checklist for First-Timers

1040s, W2s, 1099s, 1095s... As tax time approaches, it’s easy to feel like you’re swirling in a bowl of alpha-numerical soup! But filing taxes doesn’t necessarily have to be stressful, even if it’s your first time. Whether you’re hiring an accounting professional or organizing taxes on your own, with some tools and a little preparation, you can have everything you need at your fingertips well in advance of the Thursday, April 15 tax return date.

We’ve created a tax preparation checklist to help you get ready to file, whether you’re a student, small business owner or first-timer taxpayer. So fire up your printer and make copies of the list for yourself, your friends and any family members who might benefit from a little tax prep help. With 30 times more ink compared to standard cartridge sets, the MegaTank printer makes printing cost-effective and hassle-free by allowing you to print larger quantities of documents for longer periods of time. That'll get you through even the most complicated of tax scenarios! Plus, with two full-size bonus black ink bottles, you’ll never have to worry about running out! 


The Numbers You’ll Need

  1. Your social security number
  2. Your Employment Identification Number (EIN), if you’re filing for a business
  3. Your spouse’s social security number, if you’re married
  4. The social security numbers of any children or dependents
  5. Any completed tax returns from past years, even if they were filed by someone else

The Tax Documents to Gather

  1. W2 forms. These show the wages you (and your spouse, if applicable) were paid by employers in 2020.
  2. 1099-MISC forms. These show earnings over $600 that you (and your spouse, if applicable) were paid as independent contractors in 2020.
  3. Forms that show investment income, such as 1099-INTs and K-1s. These will show any earnings from investments, interest, dividends, the sale of stocks and bonds, etc. 

It would be a good idea to print out multiple hard copies of each form, in case you make any errors while filling them out. It's a good thing your  MegaTank printer delivers a continuous flow of ink that makes printing larger quantities more efficient and productive.

The Questions to Ask Yourself 

In the last calendar year, did you receive earnings based on….

  1. Alimony?
  2. State or local tax refunds?
  3. Business or farming income?
  4. Sale of real estate?
  5. Rental property?
  6. Miscellaneous income (this could come from gambling winnings, jury duty income, etc.)?
  7. Unemployment income?
  8. Social security income?
  9. Rental property income?

If so, gather that paperwork, print out the documents and put them all in a "Taxes" folder marked with the year so you have it at the ready to report on your taxes.

In the last calendar year, did you have or make any….

  1. Alimony payments?
  2. Homebuyer tax credits?
  3. Energy efficiency home improvements?
  4. Plug-in electric vehicle purchases?
  5. IRA contributions?
  6. Interest payments on a mortgage?
  7. Interest payments on student loans?
  8. Property tax payments?
  9. Self-employed health insurance expenses? (If you purchased health insurance from the Marketplace, you should receive Form 1095-A in the mail)

If so, those items may help adjust your income and save on taxes. Print out any and all supporting documents and add them to the folder.

What about…

  1. Education costs?
  2. Childcare costs?
  3. Adoption costs?
  4. Charitable donations?
  5. Qualified business expenses?
  6. Medical and dental expenses?
  7. Casualty/theft losses?
  8. Work vehicle fees?
  9. Home office expenses?

Gather those receipts and paperwork, too. If the receipts are digital, be sure and print them out using your Canon printer, and then add them to the tax folder. You may be able to deduct these expenses from your taxes.

Did you drive for work, volunteering or medical appointments?

Transportation expenses related to business, volunteering and medical/dental appointments are also deductible. Be sure to consider the following…

  1. How many miles did you drive for qualified business purposes?
  2. How many miles did you drive for volunteering?
  3. How many miles did you drive to medical appointments?
  4. Did you pay any fees for taxis, public transportation, tolls and parking when driving to any of the above?

Once you’ve completed this year’s taxes, print a copy of the checklist; on your Canon Printer.  File this list and all the paperwork away, in case you need it in the future (if you get audited, the IRS will have a lot of questions that can go back six years). Then, print another copy of the tax preparation checklist; and start thinking ahead for next year. If you collect and organize the paperwork as it comes in and file early, April 15 will feel like just another day! Plus, with your Canon printer and other tax time supplies, and you have no excuse to be late this year! 

Note: While this list covers many of the common tax topics, every person has different tax needs and may need to supply additional information to the IRS. Feel free to modify the list to fit your own personal tax situation.