Tax Preparation Checklist


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Preparation is the key to a complete tax return. To help your tax preparer claim the maximum tax credits for you, you should bring all of the below items.

Please note, some items may not apply to some taxpayers. For example, education credits do not apply for families that do not have any members in K-12 schools or higher education.

Personal Information

Picture ID: The following are acceptable documents for identification:

  • Drivers’ license
  • Employer or school ID
  • Passport or visa
  • Military ID
  • State/national identification card

❏ Birthdate: Please be ready to provide the birth date for all persons listed on the tax return.

❏ Social Security card or Individual Tax Identification Number card/letter: Taxpayers must bring a document to verify their social security number (SSN) and/or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) for each person listed on the tax return. The following are acceptable source documents:

  • SSN card
  • Prior year tax return with your SSN
  • ITIN card or letter
  • Form SSA-1099 with your SSN
  • IRS or Minnesota Revenue document with your SSN
  • SSA benefit statement or letter with your SSN

ALERT: If SSN card states Not Valid for Employment, then the SSN is not valid for the Earned Income Tax Credit.

What is an ITIN? The IRS issues ITINs to nonresidents and others living in the U.S. who are required to file a tax return but who are not eligible to obtain SSNs. An ITIN is a nine-digit number that begins with the number 9.

❏ Routing and account numbers: When direct deposit is used, refunds arrive quicker in your account than a mailed check. To use direct deposit, you must provide your account and routing numbers for a savings, checking account, and/or prepaid card (a voided check will contain all necessary information).

Income and Public Benefit Statements

❏ W-2s: A form W-2 is issued by your employer and states how much you were paid in a year. A Form W-2 from each job worked during the year needs to be brought for tax preparation.

❏ Gambling Winnings (W-2G): W-2Gs contain information on the amount won or lost from gambling. If the taxpayer itemizes their deductions, gambling losses may be deducted.

❏ 1099 forms: The forms report other sources of income not reported on W-2s, such as retirement, Social Security, interest, dividends, and distributions. Below is a list of common 1099 forms:

  • Acquisition or abandonment of property (1099-A)
  • Sale of stock (1099-B)
  • Cancellation of debt (1099-C)
  • Capital Gains and Dividends (1099-DIV)
  • Unemployment compensation (1099-G)
  • Interest (1099-INT)
  • Merchant Card & Third Party Network Payments, Self-Employment (1099-K)
  • Tribal distributions (1099-MISC, amount in box 3)
  • Sheltered workshop income (1099-MISC, amount in box 3)
  • Self-employment (1099-MISC, amount in box 7)
  • Retirement, annuity, and IRA distributions (1099-R)
  • Railroad retirement benefits, tier 1 or tier 2 (RRB-1099 or RRB-1099-R)
  • Social security benefits (SSA-1099)

Year-end income: Public benefits are used to calculate certain Minnesota tax credits and refunds.

  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • General Assistance (GA)
  • Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Workers’ compensation

While some veterans’ benefits and workers comp are not taxable income, you may qualify for heating or other credits that you would not otherwise receive because of the exempt filing status.

Education and Child Care Expenses

❏ Record of educational expenses you paid for your children in grades K-12: Expenses for educational material or services for child dependents attending grades K-12 may reduce taxable income or qualify the tax payer to receive a refundable credit. The taxpayer must save itemized receipts for educational expenses such as school supplies and educational services.

Examples of eligible education expenses include:

  • Pencils, pens, notebooks, calculators
  • Tutors, music lessons, after school academic programs and academic summer camps
  • A computer and software used for educational purposes (up to $200)

❏ Tuition expenses paid for you or your child to attend a college or university (Form 1098-T): Expenses paid to a university, college or technical college are reported on Form 1098-T, but can also be reported on a statement from the school. This information helps calculate eligibility for the following credits and adjustments:

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
  • Tuition and Fees Deduction

❏ Student loan interest statement (Form 1098-E): Interest paid on a student loan is reported on Form 1098-E and helps calculate eligibility for a tax adjustment. The maximum deduction allowed for student loan interest is $2,500.

❏ Child care expenses: If you paid someone to care for your child, spouse, or dependent last year, you may be able to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Provide to your tax preparer the care provider’s name, address, Tax ID, or Social Security number. To learn more, click here to visit the IRS website.

Property Taxes

Homeowners and renters may be eligible for a property tax refund. Tax preparers can help determine your eligibility with the below documents.

❏ Homeowners: Bring mortgage interest and real estate taxes paid 2017 and Statement of Property Tax Payable in 2018, which is mailed by the county in March.

❏ Renters: Bring Certificate of Rent Paid (CRP) issued by their landlord. The renter should receive the CRP from his/her landlord by or shortly after January 31, 2018. If you do not receive a CRP from your landlord, you can work with Minnesota Revenue to get a Rent Paid Affidavit by calling 651-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094 after March 1.

❏ Mobile homeowners: Mobile homeowners who own their mobile home but rent the land need both the CRP and Statement of Property Taxes Payable. The county typically mails the Statement of Property Taxes Payable to mobile homeowners in June.

Additional Documents

❏ Previous year’s tax return: It is helpful to bring a copy of your tax return from last year to assist with your tax preparation.

❏ Health insurance verification: If you received health insurance through MNSure, bring Form 1095-A.

❏ Medical expenses: Bring records of the amount spent on medical expenses.

❏ Charitable donations: The taxpayer will need to provide records of the amount donated.

Itemized deductions

Itemized deductions allow taxpayers to reduce their taxable income based on specific personal expenses. If the total itemized deductions are greater than the standard deduction, it will result in a lower taxable income and lower tax.

In general, taxpayers benefit from itemizing deductions if they have mortgage interest, very large unreimbursed medical or dental expenses, or other large expenses such as charitable contributions.


Want to know about the credits you can claim on your federal and state taxes? Check out our handy Claim it! Tax Credit Guide!

Front of Tax Credit Guide