What Documents Do I Need to Bring to My Accountant?

Tax documents you need

Couple getting financial consult
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You can make the most of your meeting with a tax accountant by bringing all the documents needed to prepare your tax return. Basically, you need to bring photo identification, income documents (such as W-2 and 1099 forms), and expense documents.

Bring Your Social Security Card

Tax preparers can verify the spelling of your name by referencing your Social Security card. Be sure to bring Social Security cards for yourself and any dependents.

Income Related Documents to Bring

  • Form W-2 (wage and salary income)
  • Form W-2G (gambling winnings)
  • Form 1099-A (foreclosure of a home)
  • Form 1099-B (sales of stock, bonds, or other investments)
  • Form 1099-C (canceled debts)
  • Form 1099-DIV (dividends)
  • Form 1099-G (state tax refunds and unemployment compensation)
  • Form 1099-INT (interest income)
  • Form 1099-K (business or rental income processed by third party networks)
  • Form 1099-LTC (benefits received from a long-term care policy)
  • Form 1099-MISC (self-employment and other various types of income)
  • Form 1099-OID (original issue discount on bonds)
  • Form 1099-PATR (patronage dividends)
  • Form 1099-Q (distributions from an education savings plan)
  • Form 1099-QA (distributions from an ABLE account)
  • Form 1099-R (distributions from individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, and other types of retirement savings plans)
  • Form 1099-S (proceeds from the sale of real estate)
  • Form 1099-SA (distributions from health savings accounts)
  • Form SSA-1099 (Social Security benefits)
  • Form RRB-1099 (Railroad retirement benefits)
  • Schedule K-1 (income from partnerships, S corporations, estates, or trusts)

If you received income income not reported on these forms, make a note of that and let your tax preparer know about the type and amount of income.

Examples of income that might not be reported on one of these tax documents includes investment income from foreign financial accounts, income earned in a trade or business, or rental income.

Expense Related Documents to Bring

  • Form 1097-BTC (bond tax credit)
  • Form 1098 (mortgage interest)
  • Form 1098-C (charitable contribution of vehicles)
  • Form 1098-E (student loan interest)
  • Form 1098-MA (homeowner mortgage payments)
  • Form 1098-T (tuition for higher education)
  • Business expenses (summarized by type and amount)
  • Child care expenses (summarized by provider and amount)
  • Gambling losses
  • Medical expenses
  • Moving expenses
  • Personal property tax, such as car registration paid
  • Real estate tax bills
  • Realized gain/loss report for any stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other capital investments sold during the year
  • Receipts or acknowledgement letters for gifts to charity
  • Rental expenses (summarized by property, type, and amount)

Your tax professional can let you know if there are specific types of expenses you need to keep track of.

And many tax professionals can provide you with a printed organizer to help you collect all the data needed to prepare your tax return.

If you don’t have all your tax documents, there are several ways to get copies.


If You are Missing Form W-2

  • Ask your employer to send new a copy of your Form W-2. Some employers charge a nominal fee for this service. Employers are required by law to keep copies of your W-2 forms and other payroll information for at least four years.

If You are Missing Form 1099

  • Banks may have tax documents available for downloading from their web site, or you can call their customer service number to get a new 1099-INT mailed to you.
  • Investment brokers will be able to mail you a copies of Form 1099-B and 1099-DIV to report stock trading and dividend activity. Or you might be able to download copies from the brokerage web site. Be sure to download a copy of your year-end statement or a realized gain/loss report, as information in those reports can supplement the information found on the Form 1099-B.
  • If you earned more than $600 as a consultant or independent contractor, your client is required to send you a 1099-MISC to report your income. Even if you didn't receive a 1099-MISC, you are still required to report the income to the IRS. Consider contacting your client for a copy of the missing 1099-MISC.
  • For other types of 1099 forms, contact the organization responsible for issuing the tax form.

How to Obtain Copies of Your Tax Documents from the IRS

The IRS receives copies of all your tax documents so you can request copies from the IRS.

You can either do this yourself, or you can have your tax accountant do it.

There are three ways to get copies of your tax documents yourself:

  1. Use the Get Transcript Online application on the IRS Web site. What you will be asking for is a copy of your Wage and Income Transcript. You will need to specify which year you are requesting. Be aware, that the wage and income transcript for 2013 may not be completely up to date until July 2014. You will need to register with the IRS Web site and confirm your identity.
  1. Mail or fax Form 4506-T to the IRS. This form is used to request transcripts of various tax documents. To request the income documents, check the box for line 8, "Form W-2, Form 1099 series, Form 1098 series, or Form 5498 series transcript." The IRS will mail out the transcript, usually in about ten business days.
  2. Visit a local IRS taxpayer assistance center. An IRS agent can print out the wage and income transcript for you.

Alternatively, your accountant can request a copy of the wage and income transcript from the IRS, and the IRS can fax the transcript directly to your accountant's office. To do this, you will need to authorize your accountant to talk to the IRS on your behalf. This is accomplished by preparing and signing either Form 8821 or Form 2848. (Your accountant can advise you which form is best and prepare the relevant form.)

The wage and income transcript is a computer printout of the information contained on your various tax documents. The printout isn't going to look like photocopies of your W-2 and 1099 forms.

Instead, it will be a transcript of the data contained on those tax forms.

One word of caution: the IRS only retains the federal information on these forms. State and local information, such as state tax withholding, do not show up on this transcript. After obtaining the transcript, you may want to contact the institutions shown on the transcript to obtain a copy of the original documents.

The IRS keeps your tax documents in their database for about four years, and in some cases up to ten years of documents might exist in their archives.

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