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2024 Tax season update: Filing begins January 29

2024 Tax season update: Filing begins January 29

The IRS has set January 29, 2024, as the commencement date for the 2024 tax filing season.

This marks the beginning of the period when the IRS will start accepting and processing 2023 tax returns.

It is anticipated that over 128.7 million individual tax returns will be filed by the April 15, 2024, deadline.

Preparation for tax filing

Taxpayers don't have to wait until January 29 to start preparing their taxes. Many software companies and tax professionals can begin electronic submissions earlier, holding them until the IRS starts processing them.

Additionally, the IRS Free File service will be accessible from January 12 on the IRS website, ahead of the filing season.

Improvements and services by the IRS

The IRS has made several enhancements to aid taxpayers:

  • Expanded in-person service at Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs)
  • Increased support on toll-free lines and an improved customer call-back feature
  • Updates to the "Where's My Refund?" tool for detailed refund status in plain language
  • Digital submission options for correspondence and additional tax forms
  • Upgrades to the IRS Individual Online Account, including new features like chat and managing payments

Filing deadlines and special extensions

The general deadline for filing personal federal tax returns and requesting extensions is April 15, 2024.

Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17, 2024, due to local holidays.

Additional time may be granted to those in federally declared disaster areas.

Key dates for the 2024 filing season

  • January 12: IRS Free File opens
  • January 29: Filing season starts for individual tax returns
  • April 15: Tax return filing deadline for most taxpayers
  • October 15: Deadline for those who requested extensions

Filing tips for 2024

  1. Gather All Necessary Tax Records: Start by organizing all your important documents. This includes Social Security numbers for yourself and dependents, Identity Protection PINs (if applicable), W-2s, 1099s, receipts for deductible expenses, previous year's tax return, and any other relevant financial statements.
  2. Wait for All Income Documentation Before Filing: Ensure you have received all necessary income documentation before starting your tax filing. Filing without all documents can lead to errors and delay your refund.
  3. File Electronically with Direct Deposit for Faster Processing: E-filing is faster, more secure and reliable than paper filing. Opt for direct deposit to receive your refund quicker. The IRS typically issues refunds in less than 21 days from the e-file acceptance date.
  4. Review Tax Credits and Deductions: Be aware of any tax credits or deductions you may be eligible for. This could include education credits, child tax credits, charitable contributions, medical expenses, or home office deductions.
  5. Check for New Tax Laws and Updates: Tax laws can change annually, impacting deductions, credits, and filing requirements. Stay updated on any new laws that may affect your tax situation.
  6. Consider Contributing to Retirement Accounts: Contributions to certain retirement accounts like a traditional IRA or 401(k) can be tax-deductible. Consider maximizing these contributions to reduce your taxable income.
  7. Seek Pro Help when Needed: If your tax situation is complex, or if you're unsure about anything, don't hesitate to consult a tax professional or CPA. They can offer personalized advice, ensure accuracy, and help you with complicated tax scenarios.

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Refund processing times

The IRS generally issues most refunds in less than 21 days.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act stipulates that refunds involving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) cannot be issued before mid-February.

Additional IRS resources

The IRS offers various online tools for assistance:

Bottom line

With the IRS continually improving its services and introducing new tools, the 2024 tax season is set to be more streamlined and taxpayer-friendly.

Preparing early and utilizing the available resources can ensure a smoother and more efficient tax filing experience.

Happy filing!

Ines Zemelman, EA
Founder of TFX