The Internal Revenue Service offers a checklist to help taxpayers as they prepare to file their 2023 tax returns during filing season.

Where to Begin

These six easy tips will help make tax preparation smoother in 2024. Much of this information is also available on a special IRS.gov free help page, according to a news release.

Easy Tips

1. Gather all necessary tax paperwork and records for accuracy to avoid missing a deduction or creditTaxpayers should have all their important and necessary documents before preparing their return. This will help file a complete and accurate tax return. Errors and omissions slow down tax processing, including refund times.

Before Beginning, Taxpayers Need

  • Social Security numbers for everyone listed on the tax return.
  • Bank account and routing numbers.
  • Various tax forms such as W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, and other income documents or records of digital asset transactions.
  • Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace statement.
  • Any IRS letters citing an amount received for a certain tax deduction or credit.

2. Remember to report all types of income on the tax return. This is important to avoid receiving a notice or a bill from the IRS.

Don’t forget to include income from:

  • Goods are created and sold on online platforms.
  • Investment income.
  • Part-time or seasonal work.
  • Self-employment or other business activities.
  • Services are provided through mobile apps.

3. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the fastest way to receive a refund. Avoid paper returns. Tax software helps individuals avoid mistakes by doing the math. It guides people through each section of their tax return using a question-and-answer format.

For those waiting for their 2022 tax return to be processed, here’s a special tip to ensure their 2023 tax return is accepted by the IRS for processing. Make sure to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s adjusted gross income (AGI) on the 2023 tax return. Everyone else should enter their prior year’s AGI from last year’s return.

4. Free resources are available to help eligible taxpayers file online. Free help may also be available to qualified taxpayers. IRS Free File provides a free online alternative to filing a paper tax return. IRS Free File is available to any individual or family who earned $79,000 or less in 2023.

With IRS Free File, leading tax software providers make their online products available for free as part of a 21-year partnership with the IRS. This year, there are eight products in English and one in Spanish. Taxpayers must access these products through the IRS website.

People who make over $79,000 can use the IRS’ Free File Fillable Forms. These are the electronic versions of IRS paper forms. This product is best for people who are comfortable preparing their taxes.

Qualified taxpayers can also find free one-on-one tax preparation help around the nation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

5. Consider which filing option to use; each one has its benefits. Taxpayers should decide based on their personal situation and comfort level with tax preparation.

6. Don’t wait on hold when calling the IRS. Use online resources at IRS.gov to get answers to tax questionscheck a refund status, or pay taxes. There’s no wait time or appointment needed — online tools and resources are available 24 hours a day. The IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant tool and Let us help you resources are especially helpful.

Stay updated

Additionally, the IRS suggests taxpayers stay up to date on important tax information online by:

Following the IRS’ official social media accounts and email subscription lists to stay current on the latest tax topics and alerts.

Downloading the IRS2Go mobile app, watching IRS YouTube videos, or following the IRS on X, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for the latest updates on tax changes, scam alerts, initiatives, products, and services.

Source: IRS