Stay Ahead of Tax Season: Your Tax Preparation Checklist

Stay Ahead of Tax Season: Your Tax Preparation Checklist

Tax time is here!

As a wealth manager at Deerfield Financial Advisors, I’m all too familiar with the chaos that can occur every year around tax time. But it does not have to be that way.

And since there’s nothing worse than realizing you’re missing a crucial document just as you’re about to tackle your yearly tax chore, we put together this tax preparation checklist you can use to feel certain you have everything you need. 


❏ Form W-2: W-2 forms are provided by employers and show your yearly wages and tax withholdings. This year, they were scheduled to be available January 31.

❏ Form 1099-MISC: Shows the income you received as an independent contractor or freelancer. You should get one form from each person or company that pays you.

❏ Form 1099-INT: This shows if you earned $10 or more in interest from a bank, brokerage, or other financial institution.

❏ Form 1099-R: Shows pension income and distributions from IRAs and annuities.

❏ Form 1099-DIV: This form shows the annual dividend income that you earned.

❏ Form 1099-B or 1099-S: You’ll get one of these 1099 forms if you have received any income from the sale of property or stock.

❏ Form 1098: This form comes from your mortgage company and shows the interest that you paid.

❏ Form 1095-A or 1095-C: These forms show your healthcare coverage for the year and your premium tax credit (if applicable).

❏ Schedule K-1 (Form 1065, Form 1120S, or Form 1041): This form shows income for a partner, a shareholder, or an income beneficiary of an estate or trust. The Schedule K-1 deadline can be as late as April 15th.

Income Reduction 

❏ Receipts for qualifying energy-efficient home improvements.

❏ Records of IRA contributions you made in 2023.

❏ SEP, SIMPLE, and other self-employed pension plan information.

❏ Records of medical savings account (MSA) contributions.

❏ Moving expense receipts.

❏ Receipts for self-employed health insurance premiums.

❏ Records of alimony payments if your divorce was completed before December 31, 2018.

❏ Form 1098-E is for student loan interest paid, or loan statements for student loans received.

❏ Form 1098-T is for tuition paid or receipts from the institution you or your dependents attend.

Personal Information

❏ Copies of last year’s tax return (for reference).

❏ Bank account number and routing number for the direct deposit of your refund.

Gather Documents for Itemization

Collect the following records so you can tally totals and provide proof, especially if you’re planning to itemize your deductions.

Deductions and Credits

❏ Adoption costs: SSN of the child; records of transportation, legal, and medical costs

Mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and points you paid (form 1098)

❏ Childcare costs: provider’s name, address, tax ID, and the amount paid

❏ Education costs: Form 1098-T, education expenses

❏ Investment interest amounts

Charitable donations: documentation showing donations to charities and contributions to donor-advised funds

❏ Records/amounts of other miscellaneous tax deductions, including union dues and unreimbursed employee expenses (uniforms, supplies, seminars, continuing education, publications, travel, etc.)

❏ Receipts for home business expenses

❏ Medical and dental expenses that you paid

❏ Casualty and theft losses: the amount of damage and insurance reimbursement total

❏ State and/or local taxes, real estate, and personal property tax paid

Keep Up With 2024 Tax Changes

As 2024 unfolds, it’s important to stay current with 2024 tax law changes. In particular, you should be aware of the following changes to retirement plan contribution limits.

  • For the 2024 tax year, you can contribute up to $7,000 to any type of IRA (the limit for 2023 was $6,500). remember, if you’re over age 50, you can make an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000. 
  • The 2024 contribution limit for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and most 457 plans is $23,000. For those aged 50 or older, the yearly contribution limit increases to $30,500.
  • If you’re qualified to contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can save $4,150 if you have single medical coverage and $8,300 if you’re covered under a qualifying family plan. (The contribution limits for the 2023 tax year were $3,850 and $7,750, respectively.)

Any changes to tax law and how they affect you can be better understood with help from an experienced financial advisor.

About Marcus

Marcus Miller is Wealth Manager and Shareholder at Deerfield Financial Advisors, a fee-only financial advisory and wealth management firm with offices in Indianapolis and Chicago. His role includes strategic planning, income tax optimization, insurance and estate planning, and investment management for a diverse group of clients. Implementing Deerfield’s unique financial planning approach called WealthwhileSM, Marcus helps clients live their best lives and focus on their most worthwhile passions. He is passionate about helping them pursue, experience, and maintain true financial independence for their families—without the sales pitch. He truly enjoys helping people and developing deep, meaningful relationships with clients.

Prior to joining Deerfield in 2012, Marcus gained valuable experience at a Big Four accounting firm, a nationally recognized brokerage house, and a distinguished independent advisory firm. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Accounting from Ball State University, the Certified Public Accountant and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM designations, and is a NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor. Marcus serves on the Board of Happy Hollow Children’s Camp and on the Planned Giving Committee at the Indianapolis Zoo. He is a member of the Professional Advisor Leadership Council at the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) and is involved at his daughters’ school.

Marcus resides in Carmel, IN, with his wife, Andrea, and their two daughters. They love spending time outdoors hiking, bicycling, camping, and traveling to national parks. (They have a goal to visit all 63 national parks; Yosemite is the current favorite.) An avid reader, especially of non-fiction, history, and finance books, Marcus also trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, likening it to a physical chess match that involves problem-solving and mental strengthening with physical consequences. To learn more about Marcus, connect with him on LinkedIn.


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