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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to file my 2015 income tax return? *some items might only apply if you itemize

  • all forms that say W-2, 1095, 1099, 1098, Schedule K-1, etc. (interest payments, unemployment, FMLA, etc.)
  • records of other income (rental, jury duty, gambling, alimony (paid/received), etc.)
  • information on any stocks or other property/investments you sold or bought
  • investment expenses (safe deposit box, investment counselor, etc.)
  • records of any contributions you made to IRAs or other retirement plans
  • records for mortgage interest, real estate and personal property tax, auto registration fees (VLF fee)
  • donations made to church, schools, and other organizations
  • medical expenses (doctors, dentists, hospitals, etc.)
  • childcare and higher education costs
  • employment-related expenses (dues, travel, uniform cost and cleaning, etc.)
  • job search expenses
  • classroom expenses for educators (teachers, counselors, principals)

Should I file using the standard deduction "short form", or itemized deductions "long form"?

  • Deductions are expenses the IRS allows you to subtract from your total taxable income.

  • The standard deduction assumes you have an “average” amount of tax-deductible expenses, and lumps them into one easy total based on your circumstances. The 2015 standard deduction is $12,600 for married couples filing joint, $6,300 for single or married filing separately, and $9,250 for head of household.

  • Itemized deductions is for taxpayers who had more tax-deductible expenses, greater than the standard deduction. Individuals who spend a lot on medical care, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable contributions or a variety of miscellaneous items generally are better off itemizing. Even purchases might help out, thanks to the deduction for state sales taxes paid.

  • So... if you can "beat" your standard deduction by itemizing all (tax-deductible) expenses - itemize!

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