Tax documents necessary to file

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1040 tax forms with stacks of papers on background © Olivier Le Queinec/

© Olivier Le Queinec/

Statements are on the way from employers, banks, stockbrokers and other institutions and agencies that were involved in taxpayers' financial lives last year.

Each of these groups has, by law, until Jan. 31 (or the next business day when that date falls on a holiday or a weekend) to get their annual tax statements in the mail to you. Since the last day of January is on a Sunday this year, the deadline slips to Monday, Feb. 1.

Many taxpayers now receive these documents electronically. So be sure to double-check your email, not just the curbside mailbox, for these statements.

More health care statements

If you or someone in your family had health coverage in 2015, you will get a 1095 form. There are 3 versions.

Form 1095-A -- If you, your spouse or a dependent enrolled in health insurance through a state or federal exchange, also referred to as the marketplace, you should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement. The information on this new form is needed to complete Form 8962 and calculate your correct premium tax credit amount.

Only individuals who bought medical insurance through the marketplace will receive this new form. If you do not get your Form 1095-A, contact the marketplace from which you purchased your coverage.

Form 1095-B -- This form confirms that you, your spouse (if you file a joint return) and your dependents had at least minimum qualifying health insurance coverage for some or all months of the prior tax year. Form 1095-B is sent by your health care insurer and/or your employer if the company has fewer than 50 full-time employees. Individuals who don't have minimum essential coverage may have to make an individual shared responsibility payment.

Form 1095-C -- This form is the version used by large employers to notify employees that they, their spouses (if filing jointly) and dependents had minimum essential coverage for all or part of the prior tax year. This verification will help taxpayers avoid the penalty for not having coverage, known as the shared responsibility payment.

Common income, deduction statements

Most taxpayers depend on the same basic data to file returns. If you work for someone else, the IRS expects you, and the agency, to get a statement detailing that income. The data are slightly different, depending on whether you get paid a salary or do contract work, but there's a form for either case.

W-2 -- This is the key form, and you need one from each employer you worked for during the past year. Your W-2 shows how much money you made, how much income tax was withheld, Social Security and Medicare taxes paid, and any benefit contributions -- retirement plans, medical accounts and child care reimbursement plans.

1098 -- For most homeowners, mortgage interest is tax-deductible, and this document will tell you how much you paid last year. Your lender is required to send you one of these forms if you paid at least $600 interest. Actually, your mortgage company probably won't send you an official IRS form, but a document of its own design that contains the same data. In addition to the mortgage interest, other information often found on this statement includes amounts paid toward points to get the loan and escrow disbursements for real estate taxes (also deductible) and property insurance (not deductible).

1098-E -- Are you paying back a student loan? The interest on your educational debt is reported on this form; your lender must send you one if the interest tally is at least $600. You may be able to deduct your student loan interest and possibly other loan-related amounts, such as origination fees and capitalized interest. To figure the deductible portion of the interest amount found here, use the work sheet in your Form 1040 or Form 1040A instructions.


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