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Watch Your Mailboxes: ‘Tis the Season Important Tax Documents Arrive

“If in doubt, don’t throw it out.” Taxpayers should remember these words when a document shows up in their email or traditional mailbox and they wonder if they will need it to fill out their tax return. Whether taxpayers get help from a tax professional or go the DIY route, having the right documents is critical. Without documents that substantiate what happened over the year, taxpayers could end up overpaying or underpaying what they actually owe in taxes.

In addition to having all W-2 and 1099 reporting forms – including those from banks, brokers and bosses – tuition receipts for higher education, receipts to back up any tax breaks claimed (e.g., for charitable donations) and personal property tax receipts will help taxpayers file accurate tax returns. The envelopes of some of these important documents will actually have "important tax document" printed on the front. Also, be on the lookout for emails from financial institutions and others saying tax documents are available via their website.

The following is a partial list of tax-related documents to keep an eye out for in mailboxes – traditional and electronic.

Employee wages

  • W-2

Self-employment and other business information

  • Forms 1099-MISC
  • Schedules K-1

Health insurance coverage

  • 1095-A – marketplace statement
  • 1095-B – other insurers
  • 1095-C – offers of coverage/coverage from large employers

Retirement income

  • Pension/IRA/annuity income and contributions (1099-R, 5498)
  • Social security/RRB income (SSA-1099, RRB-1099)

Other income

  • Unemployment compensation (1099-G)
  • State tax refund (1099-G)
  • Gambling income (W-2G)
  • Health savings account and long-term care distributions (1099-SA or 1099-LTC)

Savings and investments

  • Interest income, dividend income (1099-INT, 1099-OID, 1099-DIV)
  • Income from sales of stock, mutual funds or other property (1099-B, 1099-S)
  • Consolidated broker statements


  • Tuition paid or billed and scholarships received (Form 1098-T)
  • Student loan interest statement (Form 1098-E)
  • Contributions to or distributions from 529 plan or Coverdell Education Savings Account (Form 5498-ESA, Form 1099-Q)

Itemized deductions

  • Mortgage interest statements (Form 1098)
  • Receipts for state/local income tax paid (other than wage withholding)
  • Receipts for real estate tax paid
  • Receipts for personal property tax paid
  • Bank statements showing investment interest paid
  • Receipts for unreimbursed health care expenses

Taxpayers may need different documents from year-to-year due to income changes, and if they experience major life changes, like going to college, getting married and having a baby. To see a more complete list of what individual taxpayers and small business owners need to prepare their taxes accurately, taxpayers can use these H&R Block checklists.

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