Here are some tips to start your tax filing season:
- Start working on your taxes early. Put together a file with your W-2, 1099s, wages, income, and deductions and any other receipts needed.
- Review any major changes in your life such as children, casualty losses, medical expenses, moving expenses, adoption and related issues.
- If you can, make contributions to your retirement accounts to boost your refund before filing in April.
- Make sure you take advantage of any self-employment expenses or benefits.
- You may be able to itemize your deductions and losses for a greater refund. Your standard deduction will be solid, but in some cases the itemized deductions will allow you to receive more money back.
- You or your loved ones may qualify for the EITC Earned Income Tax Credit. If you do, you will have more money and/or receive a greater refund.
- Some states allow you to take deductions for contributing to a qualifying college savings account.
- Use a tax software at home if you want to save time. Some software is free to download and the software may help with getting your refund electronically for a small fee.
- Save your tax software files to a backup drive frequently as you work through and add more information to your taxes.
- Keep track of your qualifying expenses and receipts throughout the year to accurately report them on your tax return.
- Take advantage of tax-free or tax-deferred investment options, such as a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA). Talk to your tax advisor or HR person at work about these accounts if the company has group and individual benefit programs.
- If you are self-employed, make sure to set aside money throughout the year for estimated taxes to avoid a large bill at tax time.
- Keep up with changes to tax laws and regulations, as they may affect your liability for the 2022-23 tax years.
Here are some of the mistakes to avoid:
- Filing too early without having received your tax reporting documents such as 1099-INTs, 1099-DIV or 1065 partnership forms.
- Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers can create problems with filing, acceptance, and refunds.
- Misspelled names as compared to Social Security Cards.
- Make sure you have accurate wages, dividends, bank interest and other income in your tax reporting.
- Incorrect filing status selection.
- Math mistakes.Generally tax prep software will check it automatically.
- Proper credits or deductions, child and dependent care credit, and child tax credit. Tax software will calculate these credits and deductions and include any required forms and schedules.
- Incorrect bank account numbers. Taxpayers who are due a refund should choose direct deposit as it is faster but you must have the proper bank account numbersand routing numbers.
If you have trouble doing your taxes, most cities have tax preparation shops in them which have staff that can sit with you and type in the information for you. They can prepare and file your taxes directly with the IRS and help you receive your refund electronically with your bank account information.
If you need help with your taxes from the IRS, you can call their toll-free number at 800-829-1040. The IRS offers assistance with a variety of tax-related issues, including questions about tax returns, payments, and refunds. If you need additional help, you may also consider visiting an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center, where you can speak with an IRS representative in person. Additionally, you can visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov for information and online tools to assist you with your tax-related questions.
** Please consult with a locally licensed tax advisor in your jurisdiction before making any important decisions.
Commissioner George Mentz JD MBA CILS CWM® is an international lawyer, speaker, educator, tax-economist, and CEO of the GAFM Global Academy of Finance & Management ®. The GAFM is a ESQ accredited graduate body that trains and certifies professionals in 150+ nations under CHEA ACBSP and ISO 21001 standards. Mentz is also an award winning author and graduate law professor of wealth management for a top U.S. law school.
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