2021 Personal Tax Preparation Checklist
The end of the year signals that it’s time for people to get their information and documents ready for tax season. If you find yourself scrambling to remember and gather everything you need, check out our tax preparation checklist as an easy guide!
Everyone’s situation will vary when it comes to their personal taxes, so not all of these items or sections may apply to you. Review this list to determine which records you need to maximize your tax refund, whether you’re working with a CPA or filing your own taxes. We’ll cover:
...along with which documents and IRS forms you need for each area.
Start with the basics! Prepare for your personal taxes by gathering essential information for yourself and your spouse, including:
Your social security number (SSN) or tax ID number (TIN)
Your spouse’s full name, SSN or TIN, and date of birth
Stimulus payment (i.e., economic impact payment or EIP) information. You may have received an IRS Notice 1444 or other records showing your EIP amount.
If applicable, Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) for you, your spouse, and/or your dependents.
Bank account and routing numbers if you choose to receive your refund by direct deposit or pay your balance electronically
2019 tax return for this year’s “lookback rule”
TIN: A Taxpayer Identification Number is used by the IRS for tax purposes and is issued either by the Social Security Administration or by the IRS. A TIN could be an SSN or Employer Identification Number (EIN). You need a TIN for tax returns, statements, and other tax-related documents. Learn more about TINs.
IP PIN: An Identity Protection Pin is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. It helps the IRS verify your identity when filing your electronic or paper tax return and protects your account. Learn more about IP PINs.
“Lookback rule:” The government is allowing individuals who earned less in 2020 to use either their 2019 or 2020 income on their taxes, depending on which one gets them the larger tax refund (i.e., whether they are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit).
Next, parents and legal guardians should compile the following information for their dependents:
Dates of birth and SSNs or TINs
Childcare expenses (including provider’s address and TIN)
Income of dependents and other adults in your home
Form 8332 showing that the child’s custodial parent is releasing their right to claim the child to you, the noncustodial parent (if applicable)
Some of these income sources or forms may not be necessary for you to file your taxes this year, while others may not apply to you at all. Only gather the documents that apply to your 2021 income.
W2 form(s) for all jobs held in 2021 (your employers must send this to you by January 31, 2022)
1099-G for unemployment benefits
1099-MISC and/or 1099-NEC, Schedules K-1
Income records to verify amounts not reported on Forms 1099
Expense records: Receipts, credit card statements, checks, etc.
Business assets information for depreciation (i.e., cost, in-service date, useful life, etc.)
Home office information (if applicable)
1040-ES for proof of estimated self-employment tax payments made
Income and expense records
Rental asset information for depreciation (i.e., cost, in-service date, etc.)
1040-ES for proof of estimated tax payments made
1099-R for pension, IRA, and/or annuity income
SSA-1099 for Social Security benefits
RRB-1099 for RRB income
Traditional IRA contributions (i.e., pre-taxed contributions)
Savings & Investments or Dividends
1099-INT, 1099-OID, and/or 1099-DIV for interest and dividend income
1099-B for income from sales of stocks, commodities, etc.
1099-S for income from real estate sales (entered in the same section as 1099-B information)
Dates of acquisition and records of your cost in property you sold (if not reported on 1099-B)
1099-SA for Health Savings Account reimbursements
1099-LTC for long-term care reimbursements
Expenses related to your investments
1040-ES for proof of estimated tax payments made
Cryptocurrency transactions (i.e., virtual currency)
Other Income & Losses
W-2G for gambling income, or statements showing income and expense records)
1099-G for state/local income tax refunds
1098-T for scholarships/fellowships
1099-R for disability income
Jury duty records
Hobby income and expenses
Prizes and awards
1099-MISC for royalty income
Alimony records showing ex-spouse’s name and SSN
Any other 1099s or records of income
It’s time to break out those receipts you’ve held onto and organized all year! You may be eligible for some tax deductions based on certain expenses. Gather documentation for the following costs:
Forms 1098 and mortgage statements
Real estate and personal property tax bills
Receipts for energy-saving home improvements (e.g., solar electric, solar water heater, etc.)
Receipts for both cash and non-cash donations to houses of worship, schools, and other charitable organizations
Miles driven for charitable purposes
Receipts for healthcare, insurance, doctors, dentists, and hospitals
Miles driven for medical purposes
Form 1095-A if you purchased an insurance plan through the Marketplace (Exchange)
Daycare fees for your infant or preschool-age child
Babysitter or childcare provider fees for care of your child under age 13 while you work
Dependent care flexible spending account expenses
Forms 1098-T from educational institutions
Receipts for qualified educational expenses
Records of any scholarships or fellowships you received
Form 1098-E for student loan interest paid
Receipts for classroom supplies (for educators of grades K-12)
State & Local Taxes
State and local income or sales tax paid (besides wage withholding)
Invoice for vehicle sales tax paid and/or personal property tax on vehicles
Retirement & Other Savings
Form 5498-SA for HSA contributions
FORM 5498 for IRA contributions
All other 5498 series forms (e.g., 5498-QA, 5498-ESA)
Federally Declared Disaster
City/county where you lived, worked, or owned property
Records showing property losses (e.g., appraisal, clean-up costs, etc.)
Records of rebuilding/repair costs
Insurance reimbursements/claims to be paid
FEMA assistance information
To find out if your country has been declared a federal disaster area, check the FEMA website.
Do you have questions about specific items on this personal tax checklist? Contact our accountants today for assistance at 603-505-2368 or schedule a free consultation, and we’ll be happy to help you navigate tax season successfully!