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Tax Preparation Checklist for Individuals: Tax Year 2021

There’s a lot of information to gather and remember as you gather your documents in preparation for Tax Season. We’ve put together a thorough Tax Preparation Checklist for Individuals for you to review and prepare to file your taxes.

Individuals can use this checklist as a guide to analyze all of your categories of income and expenses for the year. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of questions as each person’s situation is different. This is a guideline that can be used as a starting point for a conversion with your CPA or tax professional.

If you are already a member the LITHERLAND TAX & ACCOUNTING SERVICES family, you will have access to our Secure Portal where you will be able to reference to this checklist, complete a detailed questionnaire as well as have the ability to review and e-sign your return.

Your Personal Information

The personal information you may need to file taxes may contain information from your prior year's return, including:

  • Your Social Security Number (SSN), along with SSNs for your spouse, if applicable, and any dependents

  • Last year's Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) if you're e-filing your taxes and need to confirm your identity

  • Any tax filing PIN you may have.

Your Income Information

Your tax return typically requires documentation for all the taxable income you received the previous year.

  • W-2 forms

  • 1099 forms

  • 1099-MISC for contract employees

  • 1099-K for those who receive payment through a third-party provider like Venmo or Paypal

  • 1099-DIV for investment dividends

  • 1099-INT for investment interest

  • 1099-B for transactions handled by brokers

  • Receipts, pay stubs, or any other documentation on income that isn't otherwise reflected.

Your Deduction Information

Next, gather information on deductions that help reduce your overall tax burden. These include, but aren't necessarily limited to:

  • IRA and other retirement contributions

  • Medical bills (Health Insurance, Prescriptions, Doctors, Dentists, Hospital, Labs, Eye Glasses (etc.), Long Term Care.

  • Property Tax

  • Sales Tax

  • Mortgage interest

  • Educational expenses like college tuition or student loan payments

  • State and local income taxes or sales taxes

  • Charitable donations

  • Dependent care expenses

  • Classroom expenses (for teachers)

There are other state-specific deductions that may apply to your situation.

Your Tax Credit Information

Credits may further decrease your tax burden. Unlike deductions, which may lower your taxable income, tax credits simply credit you a portion of what you'd otherwise owe. Some available tax credits may include:

  • Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Child Tax Credits

  • Dependent Care

  • American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits

  • The Saver's Credit

Often, the information needed to receive these tax credits may be duplicative of other tax information. For example, having your retirement contribution records handy may support both an IRA deduction and the Saver's Credit (if you qualify). Having your child's SSN may allow you to fill out the Child Tax Credit section and the dependent care deduction. The more income- and deduction-related information you have in one spot, the more streamlined your tax prep process should be.

Your Tax Payment Information

Finally, gather and provide information on how much you've already paid in taxes, whether through estimated tax payments, income withholdings, or both. This helps you quickly calculate your total amount due once you've entered your income, deduction, credit, and withholding information.

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