Tax Prep Checklist

Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself with a resource like TurboTax, tax time can be stressful between the concern of how much of your hard-earned money goes to taxes and the paperwork and time-commitment associated with the filing process. To save you time and make it easier, we’ve created a tax prep checklist of items most people need to complete a return.

If you need additional documentation related to your bank accounts, we can help. Statements from the previous 18-months are also available to download in Mobile or Online Banking. Downloading this information and requesting copies of checks as you deposit them, can save you time and money when tax-time rolls around each year.

Personal information

  • Social Security Numbers for yourself, spouse, and dependents. If filing jointly, you’ll need your spouse’s SSN, as well as any dependents’. In addition to children, dependents can include elderly parents and others for whom you provide care.

Proof of income

  • W-2 forms. Employers must issue these by January 31. If you haven’t received yours yet, contact your employer.
  • 1099 forms. Each 1099 form ends with a different suffix based on the type of payment received. Investment or interest income earnings show up on a 1099-INT. To access your 1099-INT from Northern, go to eDocuments in Mobile Banking or Documents in Online Banking.

Deductions

Deductions help reduce taxable income and generally result in a lower tax bill. Documentation is essential to claiming any deduction. If Northern handles any items eligible for deduction, the required documentation will be in your Mobile or Online Banking. Some common deductions include:

  • Retirement account contributions. Contributions to a traditional IRA or self-employed retirement account are deductible. Be sure to stay within the contribution limits.
  • Education expenses. Students can claim a deduction for tuition and interest paid on student loans. The required 1098-T form shows your education transactions, and the 1098-E has required information about your student loan.
  • Medical bills. Medical costs that total more than 7.5% of adjusted gross income may be eligible for a deduction.
  • Property taxes and mortgage interest. If your mortgage payment includes an amount escrowed for property taxes, your lender will send a 1098 form.
  • Charitable donations. Keep receipts for charitable donations, because the IRS could reject your claim if you don’t have verification.

Credits

Credits can also help lower your tax bill with proper documentation. The most common tax credits include:

  • Child Tax Credit. The Child Tax Credit can provide up to a $2,000 refund per qualifying child dependent under 17.
  • Retirement savings contributions credit. Contributions to a 401(k), similar employer-sponsored plan, or an IRA might allow you to claim this credit.

Payments

  • Tax payments. Most people withhold income taxes from each paycheck to cover tax liabilities – this appears on W-2 forms. If you made federal estimated tax payments during the year, have this amount on hand.

Taxes are different for everyone, so you may need to customize this tax prep checklist to your situation. You may also be eligible to receive free assistance to prepare your return if you meet certain requirements. For more information about your eligibility, visit the IRS or USA.gov.

Once you receive your tax return, be sure to make it work for you with our top dos & don’ts. If you have questions, contact us online, call 315.782.0155, or stop in to your closest relationship center.