Your 2024 Tax Season Guide: Expert Answers to Your Top Questions

Navigate the 2024 tax season with confidence! Our blog offers expert guidance on filing requirements, securing your tax filings with an IRS IP PIN, and maximizing deductions. Get all your tax questions answered with our comprehensive guide.

Filing your taxes in time for the 2024 season comes with a lot of questions. These common questions could be about deductions, credits, and changes to tax laws. We understand how complicated it can be, and that’s why we’re here to provide answers to some of the common inquiries you may have about your taxes. With the expertise of a tax advisor in Atlanta, we can help you follow the right process when filing your taxes in 2024.

Filing Requirements and Documentation

What personal information do I need to file my taxes?
For filing your taxes, the core personal information you’ll need includes:

 

1. Identification:

Name: Exactly as it appears on your Social Security card.
Social Security Number (SSN): This is crucial for identifying you to the IRS.
Date of Birth: Needed for verification purposes.
Mailing Address: This is where tax correspondence and any refund will be sent.
Filing Status: This signifies your marital status for tax purposes (single, married filing jointly, head of household, etc).

 

2. Dependents (if applicable):

● If you’re claiming dependents, gather their SSNs, dates of birth, and relationship to you.

 

3. Additional Information:
Phone Number and Email Address (optional): These can be helpful for the IRS to contact you if needed.
Bank Account Information (optional): If opting for direct deposit of your refund, you’ll need the routing number and     account number.
Copy of Last Year’s Return (optional): Having this on hand can streamline the filing process.

 

Important security measure
Considering the increase in identity theft incidents, it’s strongly recommended to obtain an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) from the IRS. This six-digit number, initially designed for victims of identity theft but now available to all taxpayers, provides an additional layer of security against the fraudulent use of your SSN on federal income tax returns. Voluntarily securing an IP PIN is a proactive step towards safeguarding your tax account. For more information and to obtain an IP PIN, please visit the IRS website:

 

Remember, never share your SSN or other sensitive information online unless you’re on a secure government website.

What documents do I need to have ready before filing my taxes

What documents do I need to have ready before filing my taxes?
You’ll typically need forms like W-2s for your wages, 1099s for any freelance or contract work, and receipts for deductible expenses like medical bills or charitable donations. These include:

 

● 1099 forms: including 1099-NEC/K (self-employment income), 1099-INT (interest income), 1099-DIV (dividends),           1099-G (unemployment income), and others depending on your income sources.
● 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.
● Receipts for itemized deductions (charitable donations, mortgage interest, medical expenses)
● Documentation for eligible tax credits (education expenses, child care costs, retirement contributions, etc.)
● Business income and expense records: if you’re self-employed.
● Home office expense records: if you claim a home office deduction.
● Any IRS letters citing an amount received for a certain tax deduction or credit.

 

This is a general list, and specific requirements may vary depending on your individual circumstances. For the most accurate information, refer to the IRS website or consult a tax professional.

 

Are there any changes to the tax laws or regulations for the 2023 tax year (Due in 2024)?


Some of the key changes to the U.S. tax laws and regulations for the 2023 tax year include:

● Inflation adjustments for standard deductions
● 1099-K reporting threshold delayed
● Child tax credit changes
● Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act
● Increased Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

 

It’s a good idea to check with the IRS or a tax professional to see if there are any updates. Tax laws can change, so staying informed can help you make the most of any new rules or benefits that might affect your taxes for 2023.

Tax Filing Methods

What are the different ways to file my taxes, and how do I choose the best option?

You can file your taxes in a few different ways: manually by filling out paper forms, using tax software or apps, or seeking help from a tax professional. Choosing the best option depends on your comfort level with taxes, the complexity of your tax situation, and whether you’re eligible for free filing options. For straightforward returns, online software may be convenient, while more complex situations might benefit from professional assistance.

 

Can I file my taxes online, and if so, what are the steps to do so?

Yes, you can file your taxes online using tax preparation software or through the IRS Free File program if you earned $79,000 or less in 2023. If you earn more than $79,000, choose the IRS Free File Fillable forms instead.

Gather all your tax documents first when filing taxes online. Next, choose a tax preparation software or online filing services. Follow the instructions provided by your chosen e-filing platform. They will guide you through entering your personal information, income details, deductions, credits, and other relevant information. Once you’ve reviewed everything and are satisfied, you can submit your return electronically.

 

Are there any changes to the filing thresholds for 2023 (Due in 2024)?

Several other tax credits, deductions, and thresholds have been adjusted for inflation. The standard deduction threshold for single filers is $13,850 and married filing jointly (both spouses under 65) is $27,700. Please refer to the table below for a list of threshold changes.

Source:  IRS

Filing statusAge at the end of 2023A person must file a return if their gross income was at least:
SingleUnder 65                                        $13,850
Single65 or older$15,700
Head of householdUnder 65$20,800
Head of household65 or older$22,650
Married filing jointlyUnder 65 (both spouses)$27,700
Married filing jointly65 or older (one spouse)$29,200
Married filing jointly65 or older (both spouses)$30,700
Married filing separatelyAny age$5
Qualifying surviving spouseUnder 65$27,700

 

How long should I keep my tax records after filing?

Generally, it’s recommended to keep your tax records for at least three years after filing your return. This includes documents like W-2s, 1099s, receipts, and other records supporting income, deductions, and credits. However, if you’ve filed a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction, you should keep the records for seven years.

Deductions and Credits

What are the most common tax deductions and credits available in 2024?

Some of the most common tax deductions include those for mortgage interest, state and local taxes (up to a certain limit), charitable contributions, and medical expenses (if they exceed a certain percentage of your income). Common tax credits include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), and education-related credits like the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).

 

What is the standard deduction for the tax year 2023, and should I itemize deductions instead?

The standard deduction for tax year 2023 (due in 2024) depends on your filing status. For most individuals, the standard deduction is a predetermined amount set by the IRS that reduces your taxable income. Whether you should itemize deductions instead of taking the standard deduction depends on your individual circumstances. Generally, if your itemized deductions (like mortgage interest, medical expenses, and charitable contributions) add up to more than the standard deduction, it might be beneficial to itemize. Otherwise, taking the standard deduction could be simpler and still save you money.

 

What is the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit?

A tax deduction reduces the amount of your income that is subject to taxation. It lowers your taxable income, which in turn reduces the amount of tax you owe. On the other hand, a tax credit directly reduces the amount of tax you owe.

Tax Deadlines for 2024

Tax Deadlines for 2024

What are the key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses in 2024?
The key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses in 2024 include:

 

Individual Tax Deadlines:
● April 15, 2024: Deadline for filing your federal income tax return (usually falls on the next business day if April 15 falls     on a weekend or holiday).
● October 15, 2024: Deadline for individuals who filed for an extension to submit their federal income tax return.

 

Business Tax Deadlines:
● March 15, 2024: Deadline for filing partnership and S corporation tax returns (Form 1065 and Form 1120S).
● April 15, 2024: Deadline for filing C corporation tax returns (Form 1120).
● September 15, 2024: Deadline for filing extended partnership and S corporation tax returns.
● October 15, 2024: Deadline for filing extended C corporation tax returns.

Tax Refunds

How can I maximize my tax refund for in 2024 for the tax year 2023?

To maximize your tax refund for 2024, consider taking advantage of available deductions and credits. Ensure you’re claiming all eligible deductions, such as those for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and education expenses.

 

How long will it take to receive my tax refund?

The timeframe for receiving your tax refund can vary depending on various factors, including how you filed your return (electronically or by mail), the accuracy of your return, and whether you opted for direct deposit or a paper check. Generally, if you filed electronically and chose direct deposit, you can expect to receive your refund within three weeks. However, if you filed a paper return or requested a paper check, it may take longer, typically around six to eight weeks.

 

How can I track the status of my tax refund?

You can track the status of your tax refund using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website. To use this tool, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact refund amount as shown on your tax return. The tool will provide real-time updates on the status of your refund, including when it was received, processed, and scheduled for direct deposit or mailing. Alternatively, you can also track your refund using the IRS2Go mobile app.

New Income Tax Brackets

Can you explain the new income tax brackets when I file taxes in 2024?
The income ranges associated with each bracket are adjusted annually for inflation. This means the specific dollar amounts at which your tax rate changes may be higher in 2024 compared to 2023.

 

An example of adjustments for the 2023 Tax Brackets (Taxes Due 2024) for Single Filers include:

● 10%: Up to $11,600
● 12%: $11,601 – $47,150

 

The income limits for each bracket have increased slightly to account for inflation. This means you might pay a lower effective tax rate on the same amount of income compared to previous years. 

Special Considerations

Are there any special tax considerations for remote workers or digital nomads?
Remote workers and digital nomads may face unique tax considerations depending on their specific circumstances and where they perform their work. For example, if you’re a U.S. citizen or resident alien working remotely from abroad, you may still be subject to U.S. taxes on your worldwide income. However, you may also qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) or the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC), which can help reduce or eliminate U.S. taxes on income earned abroad.

 

Are there any tax breaks available for education expenses?

Yes, there are several tax breaks available for education expenses, including:

 

● The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC): This credit provides up to $2,500 per eligible student for qualified              education expenses incurred during the first four years of post-secondary education.
● The Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC): This credit provides up to $2,000 per tax return for qualified education expenses      incurred at eligible educational institutions. Unlike the AOTC, the LLC has no limit on the number of years it can be        claimed.
● Tuition and Fees Deduction: This deduction allows taxpayers to deduct up to $4,000 of qualified education expenses      paid during the tax year. However, this deduction is subject to income limitations and may not be available to higher-      income taxpayers.

Troubleshooting

What should I do if I can’t pay my taxes by the deadline?
If you can’t pay your taxes by the deadline, it’s essential to take action to avoid potential penalties and interest charges. Here’s what you can do:

 

● File your tax return on time: Even if you can’t pay the full amount you owe, it’s crucial to file your tax return by the           deadline to avoid late-filing penalties.
● Pay as much as you can: Paying any amount you can afford will help reduce the total amount of interest and                 penalties you’ll owe.
● Consider an Offer in Compromise: In some cases, you may qualify for an Offer in Compromise (OIC), which allows         you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount owed if you meet certain criteria.
● Seek professional help: If you’re unsure how to proceed or need assistance navigating your options, consider                 consulting with a tax professional or contacting the IRS directly for guidance.

 

Can I contribute to retirement accounts like an IRA or 401(k) for the 2023 tax year (due in 2024), and how does it affect my tax liability?
Yes, you can contribute to retirement accounts like an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401(k) for the 2023 tax year, subject to certain contribution limits and eligibility requirements. Contributions to traditional retirement accounts are typically tax-deductible, meaning they can reduce your taxable income for the year in which you contribute. This can result in a lower tax liability for the year. While contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible, qualified distributions from a Roth IRA in retirement are tax-free, including any investment gains.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

How can I avoid common tax filing errors and potential audits?

Ensure that all information on your tax return, including personal details, income, deductions, and credits, is accurate and up-to-date. Maintain organized records of all income, expenses, and supporting documentation, such as receipts and statements, to substantiate your tax return if needed. Only claim deductions and credits that you’re eligible for and can substantiate with documentation. Avoid inflating deductions or claiming credits that you don’t qualify for, as this can increase the likelihood of an audit.

 

What should I do if I make a mistake on my tax return?

If you discover an error after filing your tax return, you can file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct the mistake. Be sure to explain the changes and provide any necessary documentation. If you’re unsure how to proceed or need assistance, consider consulting with a tax professional for guidance.

2024 Tax Filing Tips and Resources

A good tip when filing your taxes is to stay updated on the changing tax laws, financial news, and other important information that can affect your taxes. Here are some resources to help you with:

 

Key deadlines for 2024 tax season: https://www.positiverate.tax/blog/2024-taxes-key-deadlines-for-individuals-           small-businesses/
Tax preparation checklist: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/taxes/tax-prep-checklist/
IRS.gov for official guidelines: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/get-ready-to-file-in-2024-whats-new-and-what-to-           consider

With all the filing forms, deductions, and processes, it’s crucial to seek professional help and refer to legitimate sources of information. Positive Rate Tax Advisors is your advocate when it comes to filing taxes on time and correctly.

Summing Up

Tax season can often feel overwhelming with its complexities and uncertainties, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Seeking personal tax guidance can provide invaluable support and reassurance as you navigate through the process. Whether you’re unsure about which deductions to claim, need help understanding changes in tax laws, or want peace of mind that your return is accurate, reaching out to a qualified tax professional in Atlanta, GA can make all the difference. With their expertise and guidance, you can confidently navigate tax season, ensuring that you maximize deductions, minimize errors, and ultimately file your taxes with ease.

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