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How to Prepare for Tax Season

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


a man and woman at a laptop learning how to prepare for tax season

A new year brings new considerations, especially when it comes to getting ready for tax season. What has changed since last year? What are a few things people often forget about or overlook? While we still have time to get organized, here are a few details to keep in mind as you prepare to file your taxes this year. To make the process less daunting, we'll guide you through how to prepare for tax season, ensuring you're well-equipped to navigate any changes and opportunities.


First Steps in Getting Ready for Tax Season

When it comes to how to prepare for tax season, the first step is gathering essential documents, such as 1099 forms, relevant receipts, and proof of charitable donations, which can help ensure that you're well-prepared for a smooth filing process. Additionally, consider organizing these documents into categories or using tax preparation software to keep track of everything. This streamlines the filing process and makes it easier to identify potential deductions and credits you may be eligible for.


Understanding and Maximizing Your Deductions for Optimal Tax Savings

Standard deductions for the tax year 2023 have increased, so it's essential to refer to the latest IRS guidelines for the most accurate and up-to-date figures. If you're considering itemizing your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction, make sure you're aware of all the deductions that apply to you. This could include medical expenses, state and local taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable contributions. Itemizing can be time-consuming but may offer more significant tax savings if done correctly. Consider consulting with a tax professional to determine which approach is best for you. This is a crucial part of preparing for tax season, as choosing the right deduction strategy can significantly impact your tax liability and potential refund.


Navigating Tax Brackets

Each year, tax brackets are adjusted to keep pace with inflation. The adjustments for the tax year 2023 could mean you are in a different tax bracket. Understanding your tax bracket is essential when preparing for tax season, as it directly affects how much you'll owe or get back in a refund. Being aware of your tax bracket can also guide you in making informed decisions about deductions, credits, and other tax-saving strategies. It's advisable to consult a tax professional to fully understand these changes and plan your finances accordingly.


Understanding How New Legislation Impacts Retirement Savings

Newer legislation, like the CARES Act and the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, has implications for retirement accounts, which could impact contributions and tax breaks. This is another crucial aspect to consider when getting ready for tax season.


Important Tax Deadlines

April 15, 2023, is the deadline to file individual income tax returns for 2023. If you need a filing extension, you can request six extra months, making October 15 your filing date. Keep in mind that an extension to file is not an extension to pay; any owed taxes must still be paid by the original April 15 deadline to avoid penalties and interest.


Final Thoughts on How to Prepare for Tax Season

For more insights and guidance on these topics, visit IRS.gov or contact us with any questions. We're committed to helping you navigate the complexities of tax planning, ensuring you stay on track to meet your financial goals—even when faced with unexpected challenges or changing tax laws. We're just a click or a call away if you're wondering how to prepare for tax season and need specialized assistance. Take the next step in securing your financial future today.

Check out our Cash Flow Hacks podcast to learn more about money saving tax strategies.


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