Step 1: Gather your documents
- W-2s for each job held in 2015 for each person in the household, this form reports your name, wages, and other tax information to the IRS.
- 1099s showing other income (unemployment, social security, school loans, health care reimbursement, state tax refund, gambling winnings, contract work) that is reported to the IRS.
- 1098s showing payments you’ve made (school loans,property tax).
- 1095-A if you received credit from the healthcare.gov marketplace.
- Income/interest statements received for any savings account/investments.
- Bank account numbers: a voided check or your bank or credit union’s routing number and savings or checking account number for your refund to be deposited automatically into your account through direct deposit.
- Last year’s tax return (if you have it).
Step 2: Collect information for everyone in your household
- Name and taxpayer number as they appear on the Social Security Card (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number letter (ITIN) for you and all dependents (including children and elderly relatives for whom you provide care).
- Date of birth and relationship (son, daughter, mother, etc.).
- Current address (it may be different from the address on your employment records).
Step 3: Gather additional items to get a larger refund
Childcare expenses: name, address, Tax ID or Social Security Number of the child care provider.
Business expenses and assets: if you’re self-employed or have a small business
College: loans and/or scholarships received, and bills for technical/community college or university (Forms 1098-T/1098-E).
Educator expenses for teaching grades K-12 (school supplies and materials used in the classroom).
Charitable donations: list of contributions and amounts, receipts for contributions over $250.
Vehicles: vehicle sales tax, personal property tax statement for each car you own, total miles driven for the year and/or total miles driven for business.
Renters: amount of rent paid (in some states).
Homeowners: mortgage interest statement (Form 1098), real estate taxes paid, Statement of Property Tax Payable in 2015.
Retirement/IRA: amount contributed to an IRA and total value as of December 2015.
ITIN: if you need to apply for an ITIN for yourself or a family member, find out what other documents you need to take with you when you get help filing your taxes for free.
Step 4: File your taxes for free through MyFreeTaxes.com
70% of U.S. tax filers qualify to file state and federal for free with MyFreeTaxes. The service is brought to you by United Way, and powered by H&R Block.
Step 5: Keep copies of your forms and tax statements
For your protection, keep any forms used to prepare your taxes and a copy of your return for seven years. This information will make it easier to file your taxes next year.