It can be hard to keep up with everything you need when it’s time to file your taxes. With so many forms, publications and documents to keep track of, where do you even begin? You can frantically search for these documents last-minute - but I wouldn’t recommend that. Stay on top of these items year-round to help reduce your tax time stress. So, what do you need to file your taxes?

Personal Information:

*If you have a spouse and/or any dependents, gather this information for them as well.

  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Card/ITIN/ATIN
  • Last Year's Tax Return (helpful, but not required)
  • Valid Driver's License
  • Bank Account Info (if you plan to use direct deposit for your refund)


Important Documents:

Here are a few key items to help get you started. Use our tax organizer for a more thorough list of information you’ll need come tax time.

W-2 Form  

A W-2 shows the total amount you earned in the past year, as well as how much of your income was taxable and how much tax was withheld. You should receive your W-2 from your employer by the end of January.

Form 1099

If you’re an independent contractor, you should receive a Form 1099 from your employer. You will also get one if you have a retirement pension, took a distribution from your 401K plan, or received dividends or other investment income.  


The IRS is a stickler for recordkeeping. If you plan to itemize your deductions, be sure to keep records and receipts in a safe place to avoid being audited. Keep records for things like medical expenses, childcare expenses, unreimbursed work-related expenses, self-employment expenses, and charitable contributions. 

Form 1095 A, B or C

These forms show proof of health insurance. An exemption certificate number (ECN) will be required if you applied for a health care exemption in the Marketplace.  

Form 1098

If you own a home, you will receive a 1098 for mortgage interest paid.

Overlooked Tax Deductions

You may not realize how many expenses qualify for a tax deduction. Keep documents and receipts for job search expenses if you were unemployed for all or part of the tax year, membership in professional organizations related to your work, and energy saving home improvements.


How do you organize your important documents? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below! And be sure to keep up with the eSmart Tax blog by following us on Facebook and Twitter