The Internal Revenue Service has announced the official launch of the 2024 tax season: January 29, 2024. This marks the date when the IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns for the year 2023. With an estimated 128.7 million individual tax returns expected by the April 15, 2024, deadline, taxpayers need to prepare in advance.
Early Preparation with Tax Software and Professionals
Taxpayers don’t need to wait until January 29 to start working on their taxes. Most software companies, as well as tax professionals, can begin electronic submissions earlier, holding them until the IRS opens for processing. Additionally, IRS Free File will be available from January 12, ahead of the tax season opening. The IRS Direct File pilot, a new service for eligible taxpayers in participating states, is anticipated to be broadly available by mid-March.
IRS Transformation for Improved Service
The IRS continues its transformation journey following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. This year, taxpayers will experience enhanced services thanks to these efforts. Some notable improvements include:
- Expanded in-person service at Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide, with extended hours.
- Increased help on the toll-free line and an expanded customer call-back feature to reduce wait times.
- Significant updates to the “Where’s My Refund?” tool, providing more detailed and mobile-friendly refund status messages.
Electronic Filing: The Preferred Method
The IRS emphasizes the importance of filing electronically with direct deposit as the fastest and most efficient method. This approach is especially recommended to avoid delays common with paper returns.
Key Deadlines and Dates
- January 12: IRS Free File opens.
- January 29: Official start of the tax filing season.
- April 15: Tax filing deadline for most taxpayers.
- April 17: Extended deadline for taxpayers in Maine or Massachusetts.
- October 15: Deadline for extension filers.
Taxpayers in federally declared disaster areas may have additional time to file.
Preparing for Tax Filing
The IRS encourages gathering all necessary tax records, including Social Security numbers, ITINs, AINs, and IP PINs. Reporting all taxable income and waiting for all income documents before filing is crucial. Forms 1099 from various sources should be carefully reviewed.
IRS Tools and Resources
- IRS Individual Online Account: Access information about your federal tax account, including balance, payment options, and digital copies of select IRS notices.
- Interactive Tax Assistant: Get answers to tax law questions specific to your situation.
- Choosing a Tax Professional: Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers to find a qualified preparer.
- Free Tax Help: The VITA and TCE programs offer free tax assistance to qualifying taxpayers.
A Smooth 2024 Tax Season
With these updates and resources, the IRS aims to facilitate a smoother filing experience. Remember to plan ahead, utilize available tools, and consider professional assistance to navigate this tax season efficiently.