Gather your documents

In this series:

How to file your taxes: step by step
Check if you need to file
Gather your documents
Get credits and deductions
File your return
Get your refund
Pay taxes on time
Be ready to file taxes next year


What you'll need

Keep the documents and tax forms you need to file your taxes in one place. This way, you can prepare an accurate return, claim deductions or credits and avoid errors that could delay your refund.

Personal information

Income documents

  • Paycheck stubs 
  • Statements from banks, payment apps or online marketplaces 
  • Checks paid to you 
  • Records of digital asset transactions 
  • Unemployment benefit checks 

Forms W-2, 1099 or other information returns

People or organizations that paid you during the year are required to report the payments to the IRS on an information return. They must file these forms with the IRS and send a copy to you. You should get them electronically or by mail in January or February.

These forms report income you received during the year:

Forms W-2 show your wages from employers. Here's what to do if you didn't get a W-2.

Forms 1099 show other types of income. The most common are:

Documents for credits or deductions

  • Childcare or dependent care expenses 
  • Home mortgage and property tax records 
  • Donations to charity 
  • Health savings account or flexible spending account contributions 
  • Healthcare expenses 
  • Retirement contributions 
  • If you're a student or teacher, receipts for books, tuition and other education expenses

Documents from side jobs and self-employment

  • Statements from banks, payment apps, card processors or online marketplaces 
  • Checks paid to you 
  • Receipts and mileage logs for travel, gift and car expenses 
  • Records of deductible office expenses 
  • Estimated tax payments 
  • Other business income and expense records 

Find more self-employment records you should keep