Tax Tips For 2024

It’s tax season! Filing your federal and state taxes doesn’t have to be a headache when you follow these tips.

When To File

Tax season goes until April 15, 2024. You can file your taxes anytime until that date once you receive all your tax documentation. The sooner you file your tax return, the sooner you will get any potential refund! It’ll also give you time to ask questions about your return, and more time if you need to pay money to the government.

But don’t file too soon! Before you file, make sure you have all the documents you need. This will include, but is not limited to:

  • ALL W-2s from the places you were employed in 2023 (including the place where you only worked for a day)
  • Form 1099-SAs if you had Medical Savings Account or Health Savings Account distributions
  • Form 1098-E if you paid interest on student loans (the forbearance period for government issued loans ended in October)
  • Form 1098 if you paid interest on your mortgage in the past year
  • Form 1099-K if you receive sales income through third party payment platforms, like Venmo or PayPal
  • Records and receipts of self-employment income
  • Records of charitable donations

Companies and organizations are required to send tax documents through the mail by the end of January. Some wait until the last day, so if you think you’re missing a form on February 1, don’t begin to file; your tax document is probably just in the mail still. If you receive a direct deposit through your employer and haven’t received a W-2, check online. Many companies upload digital versions of W-2s to the same portal where you receive your paystubs.

Filing and submitting before you have your documentation may lead to mistakes on your return and processing delays.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re filing, make sure to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Incorrect Social Security numbers – Double and triple check that you have entered the correct Social Security number into the documents. The best way to avoid this mistake is to have your Social Security card nearby so you can verify the numbers.
  • Misspelled names – Don’t enter nicknames or misspell your name. Enter your name the way it is printed on your Social Security card.
  • Incorrect filing status – If you’re single, you can’t file as married. If you’re married, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page; are you filing separately or jointly? If you have a dependent who is filing taxes, ensure who gets to claim them: you or themselves?
  • Incorrect bank numbers – Whether you’re paying the government money or setting up your refund to be direct deposited into your account, make sure you supply the correct bank numbers. The wrong numbers can lead to a delay in receiving your refund check or your payment missing the government deadline.
  • Inaccurate information - Carefully enter wages, dividends, interest, and other incomes and ensure their accuracy. Entering this information wrong can lead to math errors and incorrect calculations of credits and deductions.
  • Unsigned forms – If your return isn’t signed, it’s not valid. There are exceptions to this rule, such as members of the armed forces. If you’re filing jointly with your spouse, make sure there are two signatures on your forms.

Remember: If you are having your taxes done by a professional, check their work. You are responsible for the accuracy of the return, not the tax preparer.

If you have unique financial situations, consider getting an extension and a professional to help weigh in. Or, if you want more information about how tax season will affect you, check out the IRS’ website.