Preparing to Pay Tax

Make sure you have the right tax form for your individual situation. Many people will use the same one they used the previous year, but if your circumstances have changed, you may need to use a different form.

Gather Personal Identification Information

Of course you will need to know your own Social Security Number, but you may need to know a few others as well. These numbers may include those of your spouse, children, childcare provider, or anyone to whom you pay alimony.

Gather Income Information

Your next task is to collect all of your income information. Depending on where you derived your income, you will need documents for:
Earned income

W-2 shows the amount of money you earned, money withheld for taxes, and any contributions you made to a 401(k) or retirement plan, medical accounts, and more. In other words, it’s your most important form. You’ll need one from each of your employers.

1095-A is for anyone who bought health insurance through a state or federal exchange. Using the information on the 1095-A, you can determine your tax credit amount for Form 8962. If you receive health coverage through your employer, you’ll receive a different form (1095-B or 1095-C). However, for 2017, you don’t need this form to file your taxes.

If you’re part of the “gig economy” (i.e., folks who juggle multiple part-time jobs to get by), or if you work a side job to supplement your full-time income, you’ll need a 1099-MISC. This form documents income or payments that you received over $600. It’s a staple tax form for freelancers and anyone who worked as a consultant.

If you haven’t received any tax paperwork, or if you think that you’re missing something, contact your employer right away.

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