Looking for a Stress-Free Tax Filing for 2021? Try Our Tax Checklist

Ready to start your 2021 tax preparation? Keep these five things in mind and refer to this tax checklist as you prepare.

https://tickertapecdn.tdameritrade.com/assets/images/pages/md/yoga pose: de-stress your tax filing with this checklist
5 min read
Photo by Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Prepare for your 2021 filing by getting organized with a tax checklist
  • Know your deadlines for tax filing and contributing to retirement accounts
  • Learn how corrected 1099s can impact your tax return

Now’s the time to gather and organize the information you’ll need to get started on your 2021 taxes. And remember: It was a strange year, which also means it has a few unique tax quirks.   

Here are four things to know as you get a jump-start on this year’s tax season. And to help further de-stress tax season, consider using the checklist below to aid in the organization and filing process.

Refer to this handy checklist to help you gather the information you need to prepare your 2021 income tax return.

Download PDF

1. Key Dates for 2021

There are two big days—the actual tax deadline and extension dates. This year, the tax filing deadline is on Monday, April 18. If you request and receive an extension, your deadline will be Monday, October 17.

The last day to contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for 2021 is also April 18. The maximum contributions are $6,000 for those under 50 and $7,000 for those over 50. Contributions to a traditional IRA can be deducted against your 2021 taxes. Contributions to a Roth IRA aren’t deductible, but withdrawals, including any gains, will be tax-free.

If you’re trying to decide between a traditional and a Roth IRA, make sure you know the differences.

2. Forms Are Coming

Keep an eye on your mailbox and inbox. Your employer, investment provider(s), and the government will soon start sending tax forms detailing your activities for the year. For example, you may receive a W-2 form that reflects your wages for 2021 or 1099-DIV that shows your investment income. Use the checklist provided above to help you track the forms you need to complete your return. If you’re a TD Ameritrade client, you can generally access the 1099 for your account online, giving you quick access to the information you need.

3. A Word on Corrected 1099s

You may receive a corrected 1099 form for a number of reasons. They include:

  • Reallocation of income by the issuer (e.g., mutual fund company)
  • A reporting error
  • Receipt of updated information

Corrected forms may be sent as soon as early February and typically continue through September. Investments that often see capital reallocated include mutual funds, regulated investment companies (RICs), and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) because they have so many different investments. Simple equity or options investments, which typically don’t reallocate their income, don’t usually send out corrected forms.

So what happens if you receive a corrected form after you file? You may need to amend your tax return. To help reduce the chance of this occurring, consider waiting to file your taxes. 

4. Your Investment Activities 

If you sold any investments last year and have capital gains or losses to report, you’ll need to file a Schedule D. To complete this schedule, you’ll need to know:

You could keep track of all this information yourself, but if you have a lot of different securities in your account, with a lot of buying and selling, deciphering cost basis can be tricky. TD Ameritrade clients have access to Gainskeeper®, a transaction monitoring and reporting service that will track it all for you.

The Bottom Line

It’s true that tax filing is never going to crack the top 10 list of “favorite things to do in the new year.” But if you take a methodical approach with a tax checklist, you may be able to whittle down the amount of time you spend completing and filing your return.

TD Ameritrade does not provide tax advice. Clients should consult with a tax advisor with regard to their specific tax circumstances.


Key Takeaways

  • Prepare for your 2021 filing by getting organized with a tax checklist
  • Know your deadlines for tax filing and contributing to retirement accounts
  • Learn how corrected 1099s can impact your tax return

Related Videos

Call Us

Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type.

Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.

Tax lot and performance reporting is offered and conducted by Wolters Kluwer Financial Services (“WKFS”) for all securities in an account and is made available by TD Ameritrade for general reference and education purposes. However, for those securities defined as “covered” under current IRS cost basis tax reporting regulations, TD Ameritrade is responsible for maintaining accurate basis and tax lot information for tax reporting purposes. TD Ameritrade employs WKFS’s GainsKeeper® system in doing so, and the information that GainsKeeper provides is included with the aforementioned tax lot and performance reporting maintained by the GainsKeeper system. TD Ameritrade is not responsible for the reliability or suitability of the information for those securities that are not “covered.” TD Ameritrade does not provide tax advice. You may wish to consult independent sources with respect to tax lot and performance reporting. Please consult with a tax-planning professional with regard to your personal circumstances. TD Ameritrade and Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, Inc. are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s policies and services. GainsKeeper is a registered trademark of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, Inc.

Maximum contribution limits cannot be exceeded. Contribution limits provided are based on federal law as stated in the Internal Revenue Code. Applicable state law may be different. Please consult your legal or tax advisor before contributing to your IRA.

All investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal 


Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.

Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.

Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2022 Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

Scroll to Top