What you need to do your taxes:

    • Your personal information like your Social Security number and birthdates for you, your spouse and any dependents.
    • It will be helpful (but not required) to have last year’s tax returns on hand.
    • Your bank account and routing number. If you want your tax return directly deposited into your account, you’ll need this information.
    • Forms W-2 and/or 1099: If you are a full- or part-time employee, you should get a form called the W-2 from your employer. The W-2 shows how much you made in the previous year, and how much you’ve already paid toward your taxes.9 If you work as an independent contractor, you probably won’t receive a W-2, and will likely get a Form 1099 from each of your clients. Like the W-2, the Form 1099 helps you determine how much you made in the previous year.10
    • Any forms that might help you determine your deductions, such as receipts from donating to charity or moving expenses.
    • Information on any alimony received throughout the year.
    • Any childcare cost info like your provider’s name, address and tax ID number.
    • The appropriate tax form for you, either the Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040EZ. You can fill these forms out electronically or by hand——or hire someone else to take care of them for you (more on that below). 11 Which form you use depends on factors including your income and whether or not you have dependents (that’s IRS-speak for “kids and other family members you support financially”).12
    • A calendar! Tax returns are typically due April 15. This year (2017), April 15th falls on a Sunday and Monday is Emancipation Day (a legal holiday observed in Washington DC). So this year, Tax Day is Tuesday, April 18.13
    • A strong cup of coffee, if that’s your thing.

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