We get it. Tax season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. For many people, filing income taxes can be a complicated and confusing process that fuels the fear that you’re going to make a mistake.
Don’t let the 2024 tax season overwhelm you. Here are 8 easy-to-follow tax season tips to get you organized and confident.
How to Stay Organized: 8 Tax Season Tips
A little research and forethought go a long way when it comes to prepping for tax season. And the good news is that tax season rolls around every year, so the more you practice these tips, the easier it gets!
- Do enough research to understand your tax obligation. Basically: If you are single, under 65 and earned at least $13,850 or married and filing jointly, both under 65 and earned a combined $27,700, you must file taxes.
- Don’t wait until the last minute. Tax filing season starts Jan. 29, 2024 — that’s the first day the IRS will accept tax forms for processing. The last day to file without an extension April 15, 2024. The longer you wait, the more stress you’ll generate, and being in a rush could lead to mistakes.
- Put all your tax documents in one place as they arrive, grouping them by category. Your goal is to have all your critical documents in one central place when you sit down to file. Important documents include but are not limited to:
- W-2 forms from a job, 1099 forms from self-employment gigs or a Form 1099-G from unemployment benefits
- Documents related to debt, such as Form 1098 from a home mortgage or Form 1098-E from student loans
- 1099-INT form for interest from a savings account or interest-bearing checking account
- Receipts from daycare expenses
- Receipts from charitable donations
- Check www.irs.gov/credits-and-deductions to explore which tax deductions and credits are available to you. A tax deduction is an expense that lowers your taxable income, such as the interest you pay on your home mortgage or the cost of out-of-pocket medical expenses. A tax credit is a lump sum amount that pays off a portion of your owed taxes, such as the cost of child care or improvements that make a home more energy efficient.
- Decide if you will use an online program or paper forms to file your returns. Online programs are faster but probably charge a fee to efile your returns. Paper forms don’t come with filing expenses, but it can take months for them to be processed by the IRS.
- Start with your federal return. If you’re using an online program, you’ll be required to start here. And even if you’re not, you will likely need some information from your federal form to complete your state taxes.
- If you think you will owe the IRS, make a tax payment plan. If you get organized and fill out your tax forms early, you’ll have extra time to plan for the expense. Ideally, you will be able save up to pay your tax bill in April, but you could also set up a payment plan with the IRS or take out a loan.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if you’ve had a major life change in the last year, your finances have grown overly complicated or you’re just overwhelmed. The U.S. tax code is constantly changing and can be difficult to understand. Working with a trusted professional like Neely’s Accounting Service will ease your stress and give you confidence that your taxes are correct.
Contact Neely’s Accounting for Tax Season Support
For over 30 years Neely’s has been Roanoke’s trusted source for tax services and tax preparation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you avoid tax season stress.