Tax Preparation Checklist: Get Ready For Tax Season 2023

It’s that time of year again: tax season. With tax season upon us, it’s time to start getting all of your documents ready in order to file your taxes. But where do you even begin? What exactly should you do? This tax preparation checklist will provide you with the key steps necessary for a successful filing.

Nothing is quite as nerve-wracking and intimidating as tax season. You don’t want to make a mistake that could cost you a costly penalty or missing out on potential deductions for which you qualify.

That’s why we put together this comprehensive guide to help you get ready for tax season. With just 9 simple steps, we’ll have you on your way to filing stress-free and taking full advantage of all the deductions available to you!


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Taxpayers should make sure they know what they are getting before hiring a preparer. Know this by:

  • Research the background of the tax preparer, and verify their status as a Certified Public Accountant online.
  • Taxpayers should be wary of tax preparers who ask for a percentage of their refund or to deposit part or all of it into their account. Taxpayers should be wary of any tax preparer who promises a larger refund than other professionals.
  • When you use an e-filing system and opt for direct deposit, tax refunds can be received quicker. Ask your preparer if they are using this method.
  • Prior to filing their tax return, individuals or firms should verify that their preparer will be accessible in the future for any necessary follow-up. They might require the tax preparer to answer questions regarding the filing of their tax return at a later date.
  • All tax return preparers must possess and declare a PTIN when completing any filing. This is to ensure proper sign-off of the paperwork.
  • When looking at someone’s qualifications, only lawyers, certified public accountants and enrolled agents are allowed to represent taxpayers in dealing with the IRS. Those who participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program have limited authorities for preparing tax returns. They cannot act on your behalf during an audit.

Working through a tax preparation checklist can make filing your taxes with software or a professional easier and less stressful.

Here is a list of the tax documents and information required.

What paperwork is required for filing taxes?

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Gather the documents you need to file taxes, such as identification, past tax returns, wage and income statements, bank account information, and other relevant documents. It is also important to review a tax preparation list before you start work on your return to make sure you have all the information you need.

Personal Information

When submitting your taxes, don’t forget to include your personal information. It will enable the IRS and state taxing agency to send the tax refund to the right address and contact you if needed.

Let’s begin by going through the essential items on a tax preparation checklist.

  • Provide your exact name written on the Social Security card.
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Home address
  • Copy of last year’s taxes. Both your federal and state returns. Although it’s not essential, it can be a good idea to review last year’s filing and the related documents.
  • To receive your refund through direct deposit, provide your routing and account number for processing.

Dependent Information

You must provide your dependent’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number (or tax ID number) to claim them as a dependent.

You may also need Form 8332 if the custodial parent is releasing their right to claim the child as a dependent.

Information about your Income

During the tax season, you could be given multiple documents that detail your income from 2023. Examples of these forms may include:

  • Your employer(s) will provide W-2 forms.
  • 1099-G forms are issued for reporting unemployment income and state or local tax refunds.
  • 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-B are used to report interest income, dividend income, and stock sales.
  • Form 1099-R and SSA-1099 should be used for retirement plan distributions and Social Security advantages.
  • A 1099-S form is required if you sold a property and need to report the income.
  • Income earned from a rental property would be reported on Form 1099-MISC.
  • For distributions from a 529 plan or Coverdell ESA, you’ll need to submit Form 1099-Q.
  • A 1099-SA form is required for withdrawals from a health savings account.
  • Schedule K-1 form is required to report income from a pass-through entity such as a business, trust, or estate.
  • Alimony received prior to December 31, 2022 (as per a divorce or separation agreement)
  • Form 6252 includes last year’s payment information, along with SSN and address of the person making the payment, and a record of the interest and principal collected.
  • Learn about other sources of income, like gambling, debt cancellation or anything else.
  • Employees should look out for their W-2 in the mail by January 28th, both digital and postal.
  • There are different types of 1099 forms, which are identified by their suffix and provide information about additional income earned in a year. You should receive 1099 forms – 1099-NEC for contract work, 1099-K if you’re paid by third parties and 1099-B for broker-handled transactions – around January 24 to 28.

Adjustments to your income

  • File IRS Form 1098-E if you have paid interest on a student loan, or provide copies of your loan statements.
  • To file Form 1098-T, you’ll need proof of tuition expense payments for college and beyond, such as receipts or canceled checks.
  • Teachers, to receive reimbursement for classroom supplies, must submit canceled checks or receipts.
  • With these strategies, you can reduce your taxable income, increasing your tax refund or decreasing what you owe.
  • Documenting contributions to the IRA throughout the year.
  • Keep your receipts for any solar, windows, or other energy-saving home improvements.
  • Documentation of MSA (Medical Saving Account) deposits.
  • Self-employed health insurance payment records.
  • Records of moving expenses.
  • Alimony paid.
  • Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE, and other self-employed pension plans.

Self-Employment and Business Records:

For self-employed individuals, you can report your income and claim applicable business expenses to lower their taxable income.

  • A 1099-NEC or 1099-K displaying income as a self-employed worker.
  • Records of all business income and expenses
  • To document home office expenses, you will need to measure the total square footage of your home and the area used exclusively for business.
  • Records for business assets to be depreciated, including cost and date placed in service
  • Miles traveled for business purposes

If you itemize your deductions:

Tax Preparation Checklist

Deductions and credits:

To maximize the deductions and credits you’re entitled to, make sure you have the necessary paperwork. This can result in more money in your pocket due to lowered taxes from the government. To ensure maximum tax savings, you should provide the following documents.

  • To cover child care expenses, you need the provider’s information such as name, address, tax ID, and amount paid.
  • Education costs: Form 1098-T, education expenses.
  • Adoption cost: you’ll need to provide the child’s SSN and documents for legal, medical, and transportation expenses.
  • Form 1098: Mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and points you paid for investment interest expenses.
  • Charitable contributions may include cash, receipts, checks, property, miles driven, and any related out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Medical and dental expense records.
  • Casualty and theft losses include the amount of damage suffered, as well as any insurance reimbursements.

Deductions and credits (continued):

  • Miscellaneous tax deductions may include union fees, and expenses not covered by an employer like uniforms, supplies, seminars, continuing education, publications, travel etc.
  • Documentation of home business expenditures, dimensions of the home/office, and costs associated with running a household.
  • Rental property profit/loss: a summary of income and expenses, as well as information about suspended losses associated with the property.

Tax Credits Documentation:

Claiming certain tax credits can be beneficial and requires specific documentation. Tax credits lower the amount of taxes you owe, equally.

  • During 2022, you can get a Social Security number for your adopted child and cover the adoption costs.
  • You must submit Form 1095-A if you obtain health insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. Taking advantage of the education credits on Form 1098-T showing expenses for higher education.
  • Standard child tax credit can be worth up to $2,000 per child for 2023. Child care costs and care provider’s name, address, and tax identification number.
  • Consider taking advantage of the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit by contributing to a 401(k), employer-sponsored plan or an IRA.

Taxes you’ve paid:

  • State and local income taxes paid.
  • Real estate taxes paid.
  • Personal property taxes.
  • Vehicle license fees based on value of vehicle.

Other TAX information

Make sure to include the following on your tax return: estimated tax payments made during the year; any amounts paid with an extension; and prior-year refunds applied to the current year.

  • Estimated tax payments made during the year to the IRS and state and local tax authorities.
  • Prior-year refunds applied to the current year.
  • Any amounts paid with an extension.
  • Foreign bank account information: location, name of bank, account number, peak value of account during the year.


Tax season can easily get overwhelming if you’re not prepared correctly. That’s why it’s important to create a tax preparation checklist and follow it every year. By doing this, you’ll be ready when the due date rolls around and won’t be stressed over preparing your taxes.

Read this FREE Tax Preparation Checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared for this tax season! Need any help in filing your taxes? Safebooks Global is your full service tax and accounting solution provider. to meet your deadlines.