2020 Tax-Planning Checklist

2019 tax planning checklist man

It’s never too early to start organizing information for your tax return. However, fall is a great time to really focus on this effort. One thing we recommend is to attach this checklist to a paper folder or post it in a computer folder where you collect electronic files. That way you have easy access to the information you should be gathering.

Download this handy tax-planning checklist as you begin collecting your documents.

Click to download the Tax-Planning Checklist

Personal Information

This information informs the IRS who is filing the taxes, where to deposit the refund, and who is covered on the return, e.g., dependents.

  • Social Security numbers and birth dates for you, your spouse, and any dependents you are claiming.
  • Last year’s return is helpful, but not required.
  • Bank account routing number if you wish to have a refund deposited directly into an account.


  • W-2 forms for you / your spouse
  • 1099-C forms for any cancellation of debt
  • 1099-G forms for unemployment income or state/local tax refunds
  • Independent contractor work statements
  • Payments/distributions from IRAs or retirement plans
  • Income from the sale of property
  • Investment or interest income
  • Social Security benefits received
  • Business or farming income profit/loss statement and capital equipment information
  • Rental property income and expenses, profit/loss statement, or suspended loss information
  • Prior-year installment sale information, principal and interest collected during the year, Social Security Number, and address for payer
  • Miscellaneous income from jury duty, gambling winnings, medical savings account, scholarships, etc.

Income Adjustments / Itemized Deductions

These items may help to reduce your taxable income, which could increase your tax refund or lower the amount you owe.

  • Student loan interest paid or loan statements for student loans
  • Tuition paid (or receipts/canceled checks for tuition paid) for post-secondary school, or an eligible elementary or secondary school
  • For teachers – canceled checks or receipts for classroom supply expenses
  • IRA or retirement savings contributions to an employer-sponsored 401(k) made during the year
  • Receipts for qualifying energy-efficient home improvements
  • Records of medical / health savings account contributions
  • Self-employed health insurance payment records
  • Moving expenses in some cases
  • Self-employed pension plans
  • Medical bills (if they total more than 10 percent of adjusted gross income for most taxpayers)
  • Property taxes and mortgage interest
  • Charitable donations
  • State and local taxes
  • Earned Income tax credit
  • Mortgage interest
  • Gambling losses
  • Home office deduction

Additional Credits

These are like deductions, but better. These provide a dollar-for-dollar cut in any taxes you might owe. Documentation for these items is required.

  • American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits
  • Child tax credits
  • Earned income tax credit
  • Adoption credit
  • Saver’s credit for IRAs, restrictions apply

If you need help with your taxes, give us a call. We provide a wide variety of tax services for individuals.