Tax season is here, and it’s time to get our financial affairs in order. Knowing when to start filing your taxes can help you sidestep last-minute panic and potentially boost your refund. This all-inclusive guide delivers all the information you need to comprehend the tax filing season, prepare for it, and pinpoint the optimal time to file your taxes. So, let’s jump right in!
Understanding the Tax Filing Season
The tax filing season typically kicks off in late January and extends through mid-April. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets these dates, and they can slightly fluctuate from year to year. The official start date is when the IRS begins accepting and processing tax returns. The deadline, usually April 15, is when individual tax returns must be filed. It’s crucial to mark these dates on your calendar to ensure you don’t overlook any vital deadlines.
Preparing to File Your Taxes
Preparation is paramount when it comes to filing your taxes. Begin by assembling all necessary documents, such as W-2s, 1099s, and receipts for deductible expenses. Also, stay updated on any changes in tax laws for the current year. The IRS website is a reliable source for this information. Starting your preparation early can save you a heap of stress as the tax deadline looms.
How to File Your Taxes
There are several ways to file your taxes: online, by mail, or with the help of a tax professional. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, filing online is swift and straightforward, but it may not be the best option if you have a complex tax situation. Conversely, a tax professional can provide personalized guidance, but their services can be pricey. It’s important to evaluate your needs and select the method that suits you best.
When Can You Start Filing Your Taxes?
The IRS announced that they would begin accepting and processing tax returns on January 27th, 2020. This means that taxpayers can file their federal returns starting from this date onwards. However, some states may have different deadlines or requirements for filing state tax returns.
Early Filing and Tax Refunds
Filing your taxes early has several benefits. For one, it can expedite your refund process. The IRS typically issues refunds within 21 days for electronically filed tax returns. Also, early filing can help thwart tax identity theft, as thieves may file fraudulent returns in your name. However, remember that a faster refund doesn’t mean a larger refund. The size of your refund depends on your individual tax situation.
Late Filing and Extensions
If you miss the tax filing deadline, you could face penalties and interest on any unpaid taxes. However, the IRS provides the option to file for a tax extension, which gives you an additional six months to file your return. But bear in mind, an extension to file is not an extension to pay. If you owe taxes, you’ll need to estimate the amount and pay it by the original deadline to avoid penalties.
Tips for a Smooth Tax Filing Season
To ensure a smooth tax filing season, follow these best practices: start early, stay organized, understand your filing options, and don’t hesitate to seek help if needed. Avoid common mistakes like overlooking deductions or credits, entering incorrect information, and missing the deadline. And remember, there are resources available, such as the IRS website and tax software programs, to assist you in the tax filing process.
- Gather all necessary documents: Make sure you have all the relevant documents such as W2s, 1099s, receipts, and bank statements organized before beginning your tax return.
- Check with your employer or financial institution if any important documents go missing.
- Determine if you qualify for deductions or credits: Research which deductions and/or credits apply in your case; consult a professional if needed!
- For example – student loan interest payments up to $2,500 is deductible.
- Use available tools: The IRS has several free tools that can help you navigate through the complex tax code as well as provide useful information on various topics related to income taxes.
- Examples of these include calculators estimating withholding & penalties
- If possible e-file rather than mail-in paper forms since it helps ensure accuracy in avoiding mistakes while saving time!
Following these tips will ease up the hassle of doing taxes! While it might not be anyone’s favorite activity, it’s crucial And remember – every little bit counts when preparing one’s finances!
Filing taxes can seem daunting, but with the right preparation and understanding, it can be a smooth process. Remember, the early bird gets the worm – or in this case, potentially a faster tax refund. So, don’t delay, start your tax preparation today!
Remember, this guide is meant to be a general overview. For more specific advice tailored to your individual circumstances, consider consulting with a tax professional.
Q1. When can I start filing my taxes in the United States?
A1: For most people, tax season starts on January 27, 2020. This is when the IRS will begin accepting and processing electronic tax returns for the year 2019.
Q2: Do I need to have all my documents ready before I can file my taxes?
A2: In order to file your taxes accurately and receive maximum deductions and credits, it’s recommended that you wait until you have received all relevant tax documents such as W-2s or 1099s from your employers or financial institutions. However, if you don’t expect any changes to your document or need an estimate of how much refund you might get then you can use pre-tax calculators available online.
Q3: What happens if I miss the deadline for filing my taxes?
A3: If you miss the April 15th deadline to file your federal income tax return (or request an extension), a penalty fee of up to five percent of what’s owed may be added every month it remains unfiled — attention!! this continues up to five months! Additionally there would be interest added based on how much time late payment takes which varies by state but generally comes around ~4%.