Common Tax Forms to Gather For Your Tax Return

January 16, 2009

January is the month when you need to keep a keen eye on mailbox to make sure you don’t overlook any important tax documents coming in.  Online services, desktop software, and tax professionals can do the tax filing work, but the most important part about filing your taxes comes from you. 

You need to make sure you are gathering the appropriate documents with the relevant tax and financial information you need to file your taxes accurately.  If you recently moved or changed your mailing address, make sure your employer, former employer, financial institutions, school institutions, and anyone else who might be sending you a tax form knows your most updated mailing address.  Many financial institutions now provide the tax form online, so you can download it at your convenience.  

Here are some of the common tax forms that you might need to prepare your tax return this year.

W-2 Tax Form

This is likely the most important document that you need to file your taxes.  If you are employed by someone else, they should send you this form before January 31st, 2009.  It contains information such as your wages, salary, tips, commissions, federal tax withholdings, social security taxes, medicare taxes, retirement account contributions, and various other information.  

1099-S Tax Form

If you did any work as an independent contractor, the employer would send you this form reporting your wages/salary.  There should not have been any taxes withheld, because you are considered self-employed, and it’s your responsibility to do that on your own. The reason for this is because you were not an employee of that company or individual, so they should not have withheld any taxes from you.  

1099-SSA Tax Form

You will receive this form from the federal government in order to claim social security income if you received any SSA income at any time during 2008.  

1099-DIV & 1099-INT Tax Form

You will receive these forms from any financial institution where you hold a fund or account that paid taxable dividends or if you had taxable capital gains or losses.

1099-R Tax Form

This is a form that reports distributions from annuities, profit-sharing plans, retirement plans, IRAs, and pensions. Whoever holds the plan, (the custodian of the plan) sends the form to the owner of a plan if he or she has made distributions of $10 or more from the plan in a given year.

The form is mailed to recipients by January 31 of the year after the distribution was made. In some cases, the individual needs to attach a copy of Form 1099-R to his or her tax return. 

1098 Tax Form

If you own a home, your mortgage company will send you this, and it shows you the total amount of interest you paid on your mortgage for the year.  Only those who itemize their taxes need to use this form to report the interest paid as deduction.  

1098-E Tax Form

If you paid student loans throughout 2008, the institution that holds the debt will send you this form.  It shows how much you paid in student loan interest.  You will only use this information if you are itemizing your deductions.  

1098-T Tax Form

If you or your spouse took any higher education classes at an accredited college or university either for a degree or not for a degree, you will receive this form from that institution.  This information will show the amount of money you paid in tuition for 2008, and you can use it to claim the Hope or Lifetime learning credit.  

1042-S Tax Form

This form will be sent from your former or current university/college if you received any grants, scholarships, or fellowship money that qualifies to be taxed.  

Good luck with your taxes!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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18 Responses to Common Tax Forms to Gather For Your Tax Return

  • Bad Credit Channel

    Great list. I’ll be referencing this in our upcoming post about taxes.

    thank you. THis is very informative!

  • patricia crawford

    Regarding the use of the 1099-S Tax Form. Irs says this is the form for proceeds from real estate sales. I thought the 1099-M was for reporting work for contractors, etc. who have no taxes taken out.

  • Brandon`

    You can deduct student loan interest even if you do not itemize.


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