The 1040 form has become very comprehensive over time. Almost everything that happens in your life can have an effect on your tax return, from a new child, or getting married to a death in the family, major illness, becoming a volunteer for a charitable organization or any number of other things. What follows may not address all of life’s circumstances but it is a good place to start when trying to decide what paperwork is necessary for your tax preparation.


Event Documents or Information Needed
Marriage Prior year’s returns of both spouses                                                        
Divorce Finalized date of divorce, copy of divorce decree
Birth Social Security Card
Adoption Social Security Card and adoption papers; If claiming the Adoption Credit, include the date of adoption, amount of expenses and special needs certification (if applicable)
Death of Spouse/Child Date of death and death certificate (with a child under 1 year of age, include the birth certificate), Name and contact information of the personal representative, Name and contact information of  the attorney handling the estate
New member of household other than child Dates of occupancy, relationship and new members gross income
Job Change Start date, name of new employer, W-2 form from new and old employer; The number of miles from your old home to your old job location, The number of miles from your new job to your old home, Cost of moving household items, Travel expense for one trip (including lodging but not meals), Storage expenses up to 30 days, The cost job search expenses
Loss of Job Unemployment Form 1099-G and the cost of job search expenses
Retirement Form 1099-R for retirement plan distributions Form 1099-SSA for Social Security Benefits
Inheritance K-1 form 1041, Fair market value at decedent’s date of death of property received
Graduation from College Interest records for student loans and                      Form 1098-E
Start College Form 1098-T for eligible college expenses
Debt Forgiveness or abandonment of property Form 1099-Abandonment                                                  Form 1099-C for cancellation of debt
Refinance of home Closing/ settlement statement, form 1098, the length in years of the new loan
Sale of Home Closing/Settlement Statement, If the “first time homebuyer” credit was taken on the home that was sold-your copy of the tax return for the year the credit was taken