The 2023 tax filing season is now in full swing. The IRS recently released a few tips to make the filing season easier for the 146 million individuals who are expected to file returns(tinyurl.com/4acck2ja).
To avoid errors on your tax return, don't rush to file a return before you have all of your 2023 tax forms. You have until April 15, 2024. If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you have until April 17 due to state holidays.
Among the key items are W-2 forms from employers; 1099 forms related to banks, dividends, pensions and retirement plan distributions; 1099-INT forms if you received interest payments; income statements related to any jobs in the gig economy (tinyurl.com/6ztjfcfs); and records of digital asset transactions (tinyurl.com/25skd7pj).
Don't forget to report all sources of income. Include "Goods created and sold on online platforms; investment income; part-time or seasonal work; self-employment or other business activities; services provided through mobile apps," according to the IRS (tinyurl.com/2tnyuap5).
If your 2023 earnings are $79,000 or less (individuals and families), you can use free tax software to file your return online: IRS Free File (tinyurl.com/4hsj7bnp). This software is available in English and Spanish.
For those with earnings over $79,000, there is a free service called IRS Free File Fillable Forms (the electronic version of IRS paper forms). See tinyurl.com/2ut38p5h.
If you decide to have your taxes done by a tax professional, the IRS offers a "Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications" (tinyurl.com/s4whsa42), where you can use a tool to search for tax preparers in your area. The IRS cautions that it "verifies attorney and CPA credentials before including them in the directory, but situations may exist where a credential subsequently becomes invalid after verification. Users should rely on the source of a credential (e.g. state board of accountancy or state bar) and not this directory for official current status. Additionally, the IRS does not endorse any preparer or credential over another."
The IRS provides general information on choosing a tax professional at tinyurl.com/yfhu8p9s.
The "Let us help you" page (tinyurl.com/29z2smzv) offers information for a number of categories, while the Interactive Tax Assistant tool (tinyurl.com/2xbfst8s) "provides answers to several tax law questions specific to your individual circumstances. Based on your input, it can determine if you have to file a tax return, your filing status, if you can claim a dependent, if the type of income you have is taxable, if you're eligible to claim a credit, or if you can deduct expenses."
Once you have filed your tax return, you can use the "Where's My Refund?" tool (tinyurl.com/2p8fh8sr) to check the status of a tax refund. You'll need your Social Security number (or individual taxpayer ID number), your filing status and the exact amount of your refund. Your refund status will appear "around 24 hours after you e-file a current year return."
If you need help, the IRS encourages you to use online resources instead of calling 800-829-1040. While local Taxpayer Assistance Centers (tinyurl.com/46w228kt) do not help prepare returns, they can offer "personal tax help when you believe your tax issue cannot be handled online or by phone, and you want face-to-face tax assistance." However, individuals and families who are eligible can get free help preparing their tax returns at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly locations (tinyurl.com/34jbmdxz). The AARP Foundation has free Tax-Aide sites at tinyurl.com/3jkp2t5z.
The IRS offers a video detailing its resources in both English (tinyurl.com/fsavctb9) and Spanish (tinyurl.com/bder7tc3).
If you are ready to file, here's one final thought: The IRS stresses that taxpayers should file electronically with direct deposit, as it "is still the fastest way to file and receive a refund." To steer clear of processing delays, "people should avoid filing paper returns whenever possible" (tinyurl.com/28wuwmpv).
DISTRIBUTED BY ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION