Frequently Asked Questions regarding Form 1099-K

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Form 1099-K

If you use any of the available cash apps receive payments, you may have received a Form 1099-K from any of  the Third Party Networks. In 2022 the IRS originally set the threshold at requiring the issuance of Form 1099-K at $600.00. The IRA subsequently revised this low threshold pending “further studies” to determine a fair threshold.

Here is a recent release notice from the IRS with some new information and frequently asked questions for taxpayers:

Issue Number:    IR-2024-33

IRS revises and updates frequently asked questions about Form 1099-K

WASHINGTON — In an effort to provide more resources for taxpayers during this filing season, the Internal Revenue Service today revised frequently asked questions (FAQs) for Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions in Fact Sheet FS-2024-03.

The revised FAQs provide more general information for taxpayers, including common situations, along with more clarity for industry and what organizations should send Forms 1099-K. The FAQs are in addition to a recently updated Understanding your Form 1099-K on IRS.gov page and other communications resources.

Following feedback from taxpayers, tax professionals and payment processors, and to reduce taxpayer confusion, the IRS announced on Nov. 21, 2023, Notice 2023-74 to delay the new $600 Form 1099-K reporting threshold for third party settlement organizations for calendar year 2023.

As the IRS continues to work to implement the new law, the agency is treating 2023 as an additional transition year, which applies to taxes filed this year. As a result, reporting will not be required unless the taxpayer receives over $20,000 and has more than 200 transactions in 2023, although taxpayers may still receive a form for amounts less than the required reporting amount.

The updates to the FAQs contain substantial changes within each section:

  • General Information
  • What to Do If You Receive a Form 1099-K
  • Common Situations
  • Third Party Filers of Form 1099-K
  • Should My Organization Be Preparing, Filing and Furnishing Form 1099-K?

More information about taxpayer reliance on guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin and FAQs is available.

Checklist For Preparing 2023 Tax Returns

Checklist For Preparing 2023 Tax Returns

Issue Number:    IR-2024-28

Things to remember when filing 2023 tax returns

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service today offered a checklist to help taxpayers as they prepare to file their 2023 tax returns during filing season.

These six easy tips will help make tax preparation smoother in 2024. Much of this information is also available on a special IRS.gov free help page:

1. Gather all necessary tax paperwork and records for accuracy to avoid missing a deduction or credit. Taxpayers should have all their important and necessary documents before preparing their return. This will help file a complete and accurate tax return. Errors and omissions slow down tax processing, including refund times.

Before beginning, taxpayers should have:

  • Social Security numbers for everyone listed on the tax return.
  • Bank account and routing numbers.
  • 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.
  • Any IRS letters citing an amount received for a certain tax deduction or credit.

2. Remember to report all types of income on the tax return. This is important to avoid receiving a notice or a bill from the IRS. Don’t forget to include income from:

  • Goods created and sold on online platforms.
  • Investment income.
  • Part-time or seasonal work.
  • Self-employment or other business activities.
  • Services provided through mobile apps.

3. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the fastest way to receive a refund. Avoid paper returns. Tax software helps individuals avoid mistakes by doing the math. It guides people through each section of their tax return using a question-and-answer format.

For those waiting on their 2022 tax return to be processed, here’s a special tip to ensure their 2023 tax return is accepted by the IRS for processing. Make sure to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s adjusted gross income (AGI) on the 2023 tax return. Everyone else should enter their prior year’s AGI from last year’s return.

4. Free resources are available to help eligible taxpayers file online. Free help may also be available to qualified taxpayers. IRS Free File provides a free online alternative to filing a paper tax return. IRS Free File is available to any individual or family who earned $79,000 or less in 2023.

With IRS Free File, leading tax software providers make their online products available for free as part of a 21-year partnership with the IRS. This year, there are eight products in English and one in Spanish. Taxpayers must access these products through the IRS website.

People who make over $79,000 can use the IRS’ Free File Fillable Forms. These are the electronic version of IRS paper forms. This product is best for people who are comfortable preparing their own taxes.

Qualified taxpayers can also find free one-on-one tax preparation help around the nation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

5. Consider which filing option to use; each one has its own benefits. Taxpayers should decide based on their personal situation and comfort level with tax preparation.

6. Don’t wait on hold when calling the IRS. Use online resources at IRS.gov to get answers to tax questions, check a refund status or pay taxes. There’s no wait time or appointment needed — online tools and resources are available 24 hours a day. The IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant tool and Let Us Help You resources are especially helpful.

Stay updated

Additionally, the IRS suggests taxpayers stay up to date on important tax information online by:

Taking tax advice on social media can be bad news for taxpayers

Taking tax advice on social media can be bad news for taxpayers

Dirty Dozen: Taking tax advice on social media can be bad news for taxpayers; schemes circulating involving tax forms

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today continued the Dirty Dozen series with a warning on day seven about trusting tax advice on social media that can lure otherwise honest taxpayers and tax professionals into compromising tax situations. 

Social media can circulate inaccurate or misleading tax information, and the IRS has recently seen several examples. These can involve common tax documents like Form W-2 or more obscure ones, like Form 8944 that’s aimed at a very limited, specialized group. Both schemes encourage people to submit false, inaccurate information in hopes of getting a refund. 

“There are many ways to get good tax information, including from a trusted tax professional, tax software and IRS.gov. But people should be incredibly wary about following advice being shared on social media,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “The IRS continues to see a lot of inaccurate information that could get well-meaning taxpayers in trouble. People should remember that there is no secret way to fill out a form and simply get a larger refund that they aren’t entitled to. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” 

Fraudulent form filing and bad advice on social media are part of the 2023 IRS annual Dirty Dozen campaign – a list of 12 scams and schemes that put taxpayers and the tax professional community at risk of losing money, personal information, data and more.

Working together as the Security Summit, the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry have taken numerous steps since 2015 to warn people about common scams and schemes during tax season and beyond, including identity theft schemes. The Security Summit initiative is committed to protecting taxpayers, businesses and the tax system against fraud and identity theft.

Some items on this year’s Dirty Dozen list are new, while others are re-emerging. While the Dirty Dozen is not a legal document or a formal listing of agency enforcement priorities, it is intended to alert taxpayers and the tax professional community about various scams and schemes. 

Trending on social media: Fraudulent form filing and bad advice

Social media can connect people and information from all over the world. Unfortunately, sometimes people provide bad advice that can lure good taxpayers into trouble. The IRS warns taxpayers to be wary of trusting internet advice, whether it’s a fraudulent tactic promoted by scammers or it’s patently false tax-related scheme trending across popular social media platforms. 

The IRS is aware of various filing season hashtags and social media topics leading to inaccurate and potentially fraudulent information. The central theme involves people trying to use legitimate tax forms for the wrong reason. Here are just two of the recent schemes circulating online: 

Form 8944 fraud

A recent example of bad advice circulating on social media that could lead to fraudulent form filing involves Form 8944, Preparer e-File Hardship Waiver Request. There are wildly inaccurate suggestions being made about this form. Posts claim that Form 8944 can be used by taxpayers to receive a refund from the IRS, even if the taxpayer has a balance due. This is false information. Form 8944 is for tax professional use only. 

While Form 8944 is a legitimate IRS tax form, it’s intended for a targeted group of tax return preparers who are requesting a waiver so they can file tax returns on paper instead of electronically. It is not in any way a form the average taxpayer can use to avoid tax bills. Taxpayers who intentionally file forms with false or fraudulent information can face serious consequences, including potentially civil and criminal penalties. 

Form W-2 fraud

This scheme, which is circulating on social media, encourages people to use tax software to manually fill out Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and include false income information. In this W-2 scheme, scam artists suggest people make up large income and withholding figures as well as the employer its coming from. Scam artists then instruct people to file the bogus tax return electronically in hopes of getting a substantial refund. 

The IRS, along with the Security Summit partners in the tax industry and the states, are actively watching for this scheme. In addition, the IRS works with payroll companies and large employers – as well as the Social Security Administration – to verify W-2 information. 

The IRS and Summit partners warn people not to fall for this scam. Taxpayers who knowingly file fraudulent tax returns potentially face significant civil and criminal penalties. 

How taxpayers can verify information

Keep in mind: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • gov has a forms repository with legitimate and detailed instructions for taxpayers on how to fill out the forms properly.
  • Use IRS.gov, official IRS social media accounts, or other government sites to fact check information. 

Make a difference: Report fraud, scams and schemes

As part of the Dirty Dozen awareness effort, the IRS encourages people to report individuals who promote improper and abusive tax schemes as well as tax return preparers who deliberately prepare improper returns. 

To report an abusive tax scheme or a tax return preparer, people should mail or fax a completed Form 14242, Report Suspected Abusive Tax Promotions or Preparers and any supporting materials to the IRS Lead Development Center in the Office of Promoter Investigations.

Mail:

Internal Revenue Service Lead Development Center

Stop MS5040

24000 Avila Road Laguna Niguel, CA 92677-3405

Fax: 877-477-9135

Alternatively, taxpayers and tax practitioners may send the information to the IRS Whistleblower Office for possible monetary reward.

For more information, see Abusive Tax Schemes and Abusive Tax Return Preparers

IRS warns taxpayers of new filing season scams

IRS warns taxpayers of new filing season scams

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today to warn taxpayers of new scams that urge people to use wage information on a tax return to claim false credits in hopes of getting a big refund.

One scheme, which is circulating on social media, encourages people to use tax software to manually fill out Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and include false income information. In this W-2 scheme, scam artists suggest people make up large income and withholding figures as well as the employer it is coming from. Scam artists then instruct people to file the bogus tax return electronically in hopes of getting a substantial refund – sometimes as much as five figures – due to the large amount of withholding.

The IRS along with the Security Summit partners in the tax industry and the states, are actively watching for this scheme and others. In addition, the IRS works with payroll companies and large employers – as well as the Social Security Administration – to verify W-2 information.

With National Consumer Protection Week starting Monday, the IRS and Summit partners warn people not to fall for these scams.

“We are seeing signs this scam is increasing, and we worry that innocent taxpayers could be at risk of being tempted into falling into a trap that puts them at risk of financial and criminal penalties,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “The IRS and Security Summit partners remind people there is no secret way to get free money or a big refund. People should not make up income and try to submit a fraudulent tax return in hopes of getting a huge refund.”

Two variations of this scheme are also being seen by the IRS; both involve misusing Form W-2 wage information in hopes of generating a larger refund:

  • One variation involves people using Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals, to claim a credit based on income earned as an employee and not as a self-employed individual. These credits were available for self-employed individuals for 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic; they are not available for 2022 tax returns.
  • A similar variation involves people making up fictional employees employed in their household and using Schedule H, Household Employment Taxes, to try claiming a refund based on false sick and family wages they never paid. The form is designed to report household employment taxes if a taxpayer hired someone to do household work and those wages were subject to Social Security, Medicare or FUTA taxes, or if the employer withheld federal income tax from those wages.

The IRS reminds people who try this that they face a wide range of penalties. This may include a frivolous return penalty of $5,000. Filers also run the risk of criminal prosecution for filing a false tax return.

For anyone who has participated in one of these schemes, there are several options that the IRS recommends. People can amend a previous tax return or consult with a trusted tax professional

This IRS online tool simplifies estimating 2023 tax withholding

This IRS online tool simplifies estimating 2023 tax withholding

Issue Number:  Tax Tip 2023-21

___________________________________________________________

This IRS online tool simplifies estimating 2023 tax withholding

A few minutes spent reviewing income tax withholding early in the year helps set a taxpayer up for success all year long. The Tax Withholding Estimator on IRS.gov makes it easy to figure out how much to withhold.

This online tool helps employees withhold the correct amount of tax from their wages. It also helps self-employed people who have wage income estimate their quarterly tax payments.

The Tax Withholding Estimator does not ask for personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, address and bank account numbers. The IRS doesn’t save or record the information users enter in the Estimator.

Why use the Tax Withholding Estimator
Using this tool to estimate tax withholding can help taxpayers avoid unpleasant surprises. Having too little withheld can result in a tax bill or even a penalty at tax time. Having too much withheld may result in a projected refund, which could mean less money in the taxpayer’s pocket during the year. The Tax Withholding Estimator can help taxpayers decide how much to withhold to get to a balance of zero or to a desired refund amount.

Taxpayers can use the results from the Tax Withholding Estimator to decide if they should:

Before using the tool, taxpayers may want to gather a few documents, including:

People do not need these documents use the tool but having them will help taxpayers estimate 2023 income and answer other questions asked during the process. The Tax Withholding Estimator results will only be as accurate as the information the taxpayer enters.

The Tax Withholding Estimator isn’t for taxpayers who

  • Only have pension income – They can read more about pension and annuity withholding on IRS.gov.
  • Have more complex tax situations – This includes taxpayers who owe certain taxes such as the alternative minimum tax and people with long-term capital gains or qualified dividends.


More Information:
Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: This IRS online tool simplifies estimating 2023 tax withholding. http://ow.ly/wVRc50MUvu4

Avoid the rush: Presidents Day marks peak time period for calls

Avoid the rush: Presidents Day marks peak time period for calls

Issue Number:    IR-2023-28

Inside This Issue

Avoid the rush: Presidents Day marks peak time period for calls; use IRS online tools in February to avoid delays, get tax help

WASHINGTON — With the nation entering a peak period for filing taxes, the Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers to use online tools to get answers quickly and avoid phone delays during a traditional peak period for IRS phone lines around Presidents Day. 

Presidents Day weekend, when many people prepare their taxes, historically marks a peak period for IRS phone lines. During the two week February period following Presidents Day, the IRS recommends turning first to the self-help tools available online on IRS.gov to avoid delays.

“The IRS continues to see improvements this tax season compared to previous years, including better phone service,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “But we always see a significant surge in phone traffic around Presidents Day. With the calendar advancing, millions of people turn their attention to taxes during this period. To avoid potential delays, we encourage people to check IRS.gov first, which can provide much of the same information instantly to taxpayers.”

Easy-to-use and available anytime, the IRS website can help taxpayers file and pay taxes, find information about their accounts, determine eligibility for tax credits and get answers to tax questions.

And when it comes time to file, taxpayers are encouraged to e-file and choose direct deposit to get their refunds as quickly as possible.

Available IRS tools to help taxpayers through tax filing season
The IRS recommends trying the following self-help resources available to taxpayers 24/7 for a smooth and easy tax filing experience.

  • IRS.gov offers a variety of online tools to help taxpayers answer common tax questions. For example, taxpayers can search the Interactive Tax Assistant, Tax Topics and Frequently Asked Questions to find answers.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit Assistant allows taxpayers to check eligiblity for this valuable credit. Taxpayers can also calculate how much EITC they may get and find answers to EITC questions.
  • IRS Online Account gives taxpayers secure access to personal tax account information including balance, payments and tax records with previous year’s adjusted gross income information.
  • The IRS offers basic tax information in several languages to help taxpayers get the information they need to file a federal tax return and pay any tax owed.
  • IRS Free File provides eligible taxpayers who want to prepare their own returns free tax preparation and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help from certified volunteers at thousands of sites across the country.
  • The “Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go app allow taxpayers to check the status of their refund within 24 hours after the IRS accepts their e-filed tax return. Where’s My Refund? updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so taxpayers don’t need to check more than once a day. Tax law prevents the IRS from issuing refunds that include the EITC and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit before Feb. 15. But not to worry, “Where’s My Refund?” should provide an updated refund status for most early filers by Feb. 18 and EITC/ACTC related refunds should be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by Feb. 28 if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.
  • The Tax Withholding Estimator can help taxpayers determine the right amount of tax to have withheld from a paycheck. Taxpayers should submit a new Form W-4 to their employer if an adjustment is needed.
  • The IRS Services Guide and the Let Us Help You page on IRS.gov can help taxpayers find additional ways to get help.

For those who need to talk to someone, the IRS has hired an additional 5,000 customer service representatives to help staff its toll-free customer service line. IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers or TACs are another resource for individuals who need more than online tools or the IRS toll-free customer service line to solve a tax matter. Anyone who needs face-to-face service should make an appointment or check for special Saturday hours before visiting.  

Missing information?
Taxpayers should call employers for missing Forms W-2. Those who did not receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from one or more employers by Jan. 31 should contact the issuer to inform them of the missing form.

Those who do not get a response from an issuer must still file on time and may need to use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRA’s Insurance Contracts, Etc.
For a copy of Form 1099 or 1042 to report Social Security income, visit the Social Security Administration website. These forms can be downloaded through my Social Security account. It’s fast and secure.

IRS warns taxpayers of new filing season scams

Taxpayers should avoid these common mistakes when they file their tax return

Most of the common errors taxpayers make on their tax returns are easily avoidable. By carefully reviewing their return, taxpayers can save time and effort by not having to correct it later. Filing electronically also helps prevent mistakes. Tax software does the math, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. It can also help taxpayers claim valuable credits and deductions. Taxpayers who qualify may use IRS Free File to file their return electronically for free.

Here are some of the mistakes to avoid:

  • Filing too early. While taxpayers should not file late, they also should not file prematurely. They should wait to file until they’re certain they’ve received all their tax reporting documents, or they risk making a mistake that may lead to a processing delay.
  • Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. Each SSN on a tax return should appear exactly as printed on the Social Security card.
  • Misspelled names. The names of all taxpayers and dependents listed on the return should match the names on their Social Security cards.
  • Inaccurate information. Taxpayers should carefully enter any wages, dividends, bank interest and other income they received to make sure they report the correct amounts. This includes any information taxpayers need to calculate credits and deductions.
  • Incorrect filing status. Some taxpayers choose the wrong filing status. Publication 501 has detailed information about filing statuses.
  • Math mistakes. Math errors are some of the most common mistakes. They range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, tax prep software will check it automatically.
  • Figuring credits or deductions. Taxpayers can make mistakes figuring things like their earned income tax credit, 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. This is the fastest way for them to get their money. However, taxpayers need to make sure they use the correct routing and account numbers on their tax return.
  • Unsigned forms. An unsigned tax return isn’t valid. In most cases, both spouses must sign a joint return. Exceptions may apply for members of the armed forces or other taxpayers who have a valid power of attorney.
  • Disreputable tax preparers. Taxpayers should remember they, not the tax preparer, are responsible for the information on their tax return. The IRS has resources to help taxpayers find someone to prepare their tax return. Some taxpayers may even be able to get free help from IRS-certified volunteers. Certified public accountants, enrolled agents or other tax professionals can also help taxpayers avoid errors.
Avoid the rush: Presidents Day marks peak time period for calls

IRS reminds taxpayers: Choose a tax professional carefully

WASHINGTON –The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers to choose a tax return preparer with care. Even though most tax return preparers provide honest, quality service, some may cause harm through fraud, identity theft and other scams.

When hiring an individual or firm to prepare a tax return, filers need to understand who they’re choosing and what important questions to ask.

A taxpayer’s needs will determine which kind of preparer is best for them. Whether taxpayers regularly use a tax professional to help them file a tax return or have decided to work with one for the first time, choosing a tax professional carefully is important. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for all the information on their income tax return, regardless of who prepares the return.

When choosing a tax professional, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov. The Choosing a Tax Professional page on IRS.gov has information about tax return preparer credentials and qualifications. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help identify many preparers by type of credential or qualification.

Warning signs
By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assists in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid Preparer Tax Identification Number. Paid preparers must sign and include their PTIN on any tax return they prepare.

Not signing a return is a red flag that the paid preparer may be looking to make a quick profit by promising a big refund or charging fees based on the size of the refund. Taxpayers should avoid these unethical “ghost” tax return preparers.

A ghost preparer is someone who doesn’t sign tax returns they prepare. Unscrupulous ghost preparers often print the return and have the taxpayer sign and mail it to the IRS. For electronically filed returns, a ghost preparer will prepare the tax return but refuse to digitally sign it as the paid preparer.

Tips for selecting a tax return preparer
Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a tax return preparer:

  • Look for a preparer who’s available year-round. If questions come up about a tax return, taxpayers may need to contact the preparer after the filing season is over.
  • Review the preparer’s history. Check the Better Business Bureau website for information about the preparer. Look for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check the State Board of Accountancy’s website, and for attorneys check with the State Bar Association. For enrolled agents go to IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers.
  • Ask about service fees. Taxpayers should avoid tax return preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund or who offer to deposit all or part of the refund into their own financial accounts. Be wary of tax return preparers who claim they can get larger refunds than their competitors.
  • Ensure their preparer offers IRS e-file. The IRS issues most refunds in fewer than 21 days for taxpayers who file electronically and choose direct deposit
  • Provide records and receipts. Good preparers ask to see these documents. They’ll also ask questions to determine the client’s total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not hire a preparer who e-files a tax return using a pay stub instead of a Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
  • Understand the preparer’s credentials and qualifications. Attorneys, CPAs and enrolled agents can represent any client before the IRS in any situation. Annual Filing Season Program participants may represent taxpayers in limited situations if they prepared and signed the tax return.
  • Never sign a blank or incomplete return. Taxpayers are responsible for filing a complete and correct tax return.
  • Review the tax return before signing it. Be sure to ask questions if something is not clear or appears inaccurate. Any refund should go directly to the taxpayer – not into the preparer’s bank account. Review the routing and bank account number on the completed return and make sure it’s accurate.

Taxpayers can report preparer misconduct to the IRS using Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax return preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.

More information:

IRS sets Jan. 23 as official start to 2023 tax filing season; more help available for taxpayers this year

IRS sets Jan. 23 as official start to 2023 tax filing season; more help available for taxpayers this year

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today announced Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, as the beginning of the nation’s 2023 tax season when the agency will begin accepting and processing 2022 tax year returns.

More than 168 million individual tax returns are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the April 18 tax deadline. People have three extra days to file this year due to the calendar.

With the three previous tax seasons dramatically impacted by the pandemic, the IRS has taken additional steps for 2023 to improve service for taxpayers. As part of the August passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS has hired more than 5,000 new telephone assistors and added more in-person staff to help support taxpayers.

“This filing season is the first to benefit the IRS and our nation’s tax system from multi-year funding in the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Doug O’Donnell.  “With these new additional resources, taxpayers and tax professionals will see improvements in many areas of the agency this year. We’ve trained thousands of new employees to answer phones and help people. While much work remains after several difficult years, we expect people to experience improvements this tax season. That’s just the start as we work to add new long-term transformation efforts that will make things even smoother in future years. We are very excited to begin to deliver what taxpayers want and our employees know we could do with this funding.”

These steps took place as the IRS worked for months to prepare for the 2023 tax season. The Jan. 23 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to perform annual updates and readiness work that are critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly. This is the date IRS systems officially begin accepting tax returns. Many software providers and tax professionals are already accepting tax returns; they will transmit those returns to the IRS when the agency begins accepting tax returns on Jan. 23.

The IRS urges people to have all the information they need before they file a tax return. Filing a complete and accurate tax return can avoid extensive processing and refund delays as well as avoid the possibility of needing to file an amended tax return.

In addition, the IRS encourages people to carefully review their tax situation to make sure they don’t overlook important tax credits they may be eligible for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The IRS has set a special day on Jan. 27 to encourage people to make sure they understand the important benefits of the EITC, a credit that can help low- and moderate-income workers and families.

The IRS has a variety of free services available to help people. The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs also offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. People can also get help from trusted tax professionals, commercially available tax software as well as IRS Free File, which provides free electronic filing of tax returns.

April 18 tax filing deadline in 2023

The filing deadline to submit 2022 tax returns or an extension to file and pay tax owed is Tuesday, April 18, 2023, for most taxpayers. By law, Washington, D.C., holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone in the same way as federal holidays. The due date is April 18, instead of April 15, because of the weekend and the District of Columbia’s Emancipation Day holiday, which falls on Monday, April 17.

Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, to file.

Tips to help people with the 2023 tax season

The IRS recommends several things for people to keep in mind for a smooth filing experience this year:

Have the right information before filing. The IRS encourages individuals to have all the information they need before filing a complete and accurate return. Organize and gather 2022 tax records including Social Security numbers, Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, Adoption Taxpayer Identification Numbers and this year’s Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers valid for calendar year 2023.

Filing an accurate tax return can help taxpayers avoid delays or later IRS notices. Sometimes this means waiting to make sure individuals have accounted for all their income and the related documents. This is especially important for people who may receive one of the various Forms 1099 from banks or other payers reporting unemployment compensation, dividends, pension, annuity or retirement plan distributions.

People should also remember that most income is taxable, including unemployment income, interest received or money earned from the gig economy or digital assets. Individuals should make sure they report the correct amount on their tax return to avoid processing delays.

Visit IRS.gov first for questions. The IRS reminds people to visit IRS.gov first for common questions and also to check on the status of their refunds. IRS.gov has much of the same information that IRS phone assistors have.

The IRS anticipates making significant improvements to phone service this year for taxpayers and tax professionals as more training for new phone assistors is completed in the weeks ahead. However, the IRS emphasizes it’s important to note that call volumes remain at historically high levels. The IRS urges people to visit IRS.gov for the information they need.

“Our phone volumes remain at very high levels,” O’Donnell said. “For faster access to information, we urge people to start with IRS.gov. From there, taxpayers can quickly access the variety of free resources available to help taxpayers anytime, day or night.”

Speed refunds by filing electronically and choosing direct deposit. There are important steps people can take to help ensure their tax return and refund are processed without delays. The most important is to file electronically with direct deposit. This is still the fastest and easiest way to file and receive a refund. To avoid delays in processing, people should avoid filing paper returns wherever possible.

To speed refunds, the IRS urges people to file electronically with direct deposit information as soon as they have everything needed to file an accurate return. Individuals can use a bank account, prepaid debit card or mobile app to use direct deposit and will need to provide routing and account numbers with their return. Learn how to open an account at an FDIC-insured bank or through the National Credit Union Locator Tool.
 
IRS Free File available Jan. 13

IRS Free File will open Jan. 13 when participating providers will accept completed returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically with the IRS. Many commercial tax preparation software companies and tax professionals will also be accepting and preparing tax returns before Jan. 23 to submit the returns when the IRS systems open.

The IRS’s Free File program, available only at IRS.gov, allows taxpayers who made $73,000 or less in 2022 to file their taxes electronically for free using brand-name software provided by commercial tax filing companies. Free File Fillable forms, a part of this effort, is available to any income level and provides free electronic forms that people fill out and file themselves also at no cost.

Most refunds issued in less than 21 days; EITC refunds for many available starting Feb. 28

The IRS anticipates most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically, if they choose direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax return. Taxpayers should check Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov for their personalized refund status.

While the IRS will begin accepting returns Jan. 23, the IRS cannot issue a refund that includes the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. This is due to the 2015 PATH Act law passed by Congress, which provides this additional time to help the IRS stop fraudulent refunds from being issued.

Where’s My Refund? should show an updated status by Feb. 18 for most early EITC/ACTC filers. The IRS expects most EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by Feb. 28 if taxpayers chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.

Awaiting processing of previous tax returns? People can still file 2022 returns

Currently, the IRS has processed all paper and electronic individual tax year 2021 returns received prior to November 2022 that didn’t require error-correction or further review. The IRS continues to work on remaining tax returns in these categories. This work will not impact tax refund timing for people filing in 2023, but the IRS continues to urge people to make sure they submit an error-free tax return this tax season to avoid delays. Check the IRS Operations page for the latest information about the status of tax returns received in 2022.

IRS.gov, IRS Online Account provide free help

Taxpayers can find online tools at IRS.gov that are easy-to-use and available anytime. Millions of people use them to help file and pay taxes, find information about their accounts, determine eligibility for tax credits and get answers to tax questions.

An IRS Online Account allows individuals to log in securely to access personal tax account information including balance, payments and tax records including adjusted gross income.

There are various types of tax return preparers, including enrolled agents, certified public accountants, attorneys and some who don’t have a professional credential. Choosing a Tax Professional offers information to help people select one. The Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help taxpayers find local preparers who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.

The Interactive Tax Assistant provides answers to many tax law questions. For example, it can help people determine if a type of income is taxable, or if they can deduct certain expenses. It also helps people find out if life event changes make them eligible for credits they didn’t qualify for in the past and provides answers for general questions, such as determining filing status, if someone can claim dependents or if they have to file a tax return.

Where’s My Refund? offers taxpayers the ability to check the status of their refund within 24 hours after the IRS accepts their e-filed tax return. The Where’s My Refund? tool updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight.

MilTax is a free tax resource available for the military community, offered through the Department of Defense. It includes tax preparation and electronic filing software, personalized support from tax consultants and current information about filing taxes. It’s designed to address the realities of military life – including deployments, combat and training pay, housing and rentals and multi-state filings. Eligible taxpayers can use MilTax to electronically file a federal tax return and up to three state returns for free.

Key filing season dates

There are several important dates taxpayers should keep in mind for this year’s filing season:

  • Jan. 13: IRS Free File opens
  • Jan. 17: Due date for tax year 2022 fourth quarter estimated tax payment.
  • Jan. 23: IRS begins 2023 tax season and starts accepting and processing individual 2022 tax returns.
  • Jan. 27: Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day to raise awareness of valuable tax credits available to many people – including the option to use prior-year income to qualify.
  • April 18:  National due date to file a 2022 tax return or request an extension and pay tax owed due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C.
  • Oct. 16: Due date to file for those requesting an extension on their 2022 tax returns.

Before filing: Plan ahead

It’s never too early to get ready for the tax-filing season. For more tips and resources, check out the Get Ready page on IRS.gov.

Tax basics: Understanding the difference between standard and itemized deductions

Tax basics: Understanding the difference between standard and itemized deductions

One of the first decisions taxpayers must make when completing a tax return is whether to take the standard deduction or itemize their deductions. There are several factors that can influence a taxpayer’s choice, including changes to their tax situation, any changes to the standard deduction amount and recent tax law changes.

Generally, most taxpayers use the option that gives them the lowest overall tax.

As taxpayers begin to think about filing their tax return, here are some things they should know about standard and itemized deductions.

Standard deduction
The standard deduction amount increases slightly every year. The standard deduction amount depends on the taxpayer’s filing status, whether they are 65 or older or blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim them as a dependent. Taxpayers who are age 65 or older on the last day of the year and don’t itemize deductions are entitled to a higher standard deduction.

Most filers who use Form 1040 can find their standard deduction on the first page of the form. The standard deduction for most filers of Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors, is on the last page of that form.

According to the Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR, not all taxpayers can take a standard deduction, including:

  • A married individual filing as married filing separately whose spouse itemizes deductions – if one spouse itemizes on a separate return, both must itemize.
  • An individual who files a tax return for a period of less than 12 months. This is uncommon and could be due to a change in their annual accounting period.
  • An individual who was a nonresident alien or a dual-status alien during the year. Nonresident aliens who are married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien, however, can take the standard deduction in certain situations.

Itemized deductions
Taxpayers who choose to itemize deductions may do so by filing Schedule A, Form 1040, Itemized Deductions. Itemized deductions that taxpayers may claim can include:

  • State and local income or sales taxes.
  • Real estate and personal property taxes.
  • Home mortgage interest.
  • Personal casualty and theft losses from a federally declared disaster.
  • Gifts to a qualified charity.
  • Unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income.

Some itemized deductions, such as the deduction for taxes, may be limited. Taxpayers should review the instructions for Schedule A Form 1040 for more information on limitations.

More information:
How Much Is My Standard Deduction?
Topic No. 551, Standard Deduction