The 2024 tax filing deadline is Tuesday, April 16th for most taxpayers. If you live in Maine or Massachusetts, you have until April 17th due to Patriots’ Day. As in previous years, you can file a tax extension by April 16th to push your deadline to October 15th, 2024. However, filing an extension does not grant you an extension to pay your taxes. You must estimate and pay any owed taxes by April 16th to avoid penalties and interest.
With the 2024 tax season underway, it’s important for taxpayers to understand key deadlines and plan accordingly. This article provides an overview of important tax filing dates and recommendations to avoid common filing mistakes.
When Should I File My 2024 Taxes?
- The IRS began accepting 2024 tax returns on January 23rd, 2024.
- The recommended deadline for submitting tax returns is April 16th, 2024. As noted above, Maine and Massachusetts residents have until April 17th.
- The deadline for requesting a tax extension is also April 16th. This pushes your filing deadline to October 15th but does not extend your payment deadline.
- The deadline for making IRA contributions that can be applied to your 2024 taxes is April 16th, 2024 as well.
Filing your taxes early, preferably by February or March, can help avoid delays in processing returns and refunds. It also gives you plenty of time to resolve any errors or issues.
What Do I Need Before Filing My 2024 Taxes?
Before filing your 2024 tax return, gather all necessary documentation including:
- W-2 forms detailing your income and withheld taxes
- 1099 forms for freelance or side work
- Records of other income like tips, dividends, business income
- Receipts for tax deductions and credits you qualify for
- Social Security numbers for you, your spouse, dependents
- Your prior year (2023) tax return
Having all documentation ready early simplifies filing your taxes accurately and quickly.
How Do I File My 2024 Taxes?
You have several options for preparing and filing your 2024 tax return:
- Use IRS Free File if your adjusted gross income was below $73,000 in 2023. This provides free access to guided tax software.
- Download or purchase tax software to file electronically on your own computer. Some popular options are TurboTax, TaxAct, H&R Block At Home.
- Work with a certified tax preparer, CPA or enrolled agent who can review your situation and help file correctly.
- Download forms and file taxes by paper if you prefer, but this takes longer to process.
The fastest way to get your tax refund is to file electronically and use direct deposit for any refund owed.
Tax Changes to Know for 2024
While tax law remains largely unchanged from 2023, a few updates may impact your 2024 filing:
- The standard deduction rises to $13,850 for single filers and $27,700 for married couples filing jointly.
- The annual gift tax exclusion increases to $17,000 in 2024.
- Income tax brackets see a minor inflation adjustment for 2024.
- Some states updated tax laws regarding retirement income, property taxes, etc. Verify with your state.
Staying up-to-date on the latest tax law changes will help you maximize deductions and avoid mistakes on your 2024 return.
Common Filing Mistakes to Avoid
Many taxpayers make minor yet costly tax filing errors each year. Be diligent in reviewing your return to sidestep issues like:
Errors in personal information – Double check names, SSNs, addresses to match your W-2s.
Transposed numbers – Take care when inputting figures to avoid reporting incorrect amounts.
Missed deductions – Standard or itemized deductions, charitable contributions and more can lead to paying extra if overlooked.
Incorrect forms – Using obsolete forms or forms that don’t match your tax situation leads to processing delays.
Math miscalculations – Double check return calculations, ensure tax table amounts match income figures.
Thoroughly proofreading your return helps minimize incorrect filings. Consider asking a tax preparer to review your return as well before submitting to the IRS.
How Long Does It Take to Get My Refund?
Once you e-file your 2024 tax return, a complete refund timeline generally follows:
- 24 hours – Return acceptance notification from the IRS
- 3 weeks – Refund issued via direct deposit
- 5 weeks – Paper check refunds mailed out
You can check the status of your refund here using the IRS2Go app or online portal. Note it can take 3-4 weeks to show status for e-filed returns and 7-8 weeks for paper returns.
If your refund seems delayed beyond these timelines, contact the IRS directly to investigate the hold up. Having your prior year’s adjusted gross income on hand speeds up identity verification when you call.
What If I Owe Taxes for 2024?
If you have a tax bill for 2024, payment options include:
- Pay electronically when e-filing your return
- Mail a check or money order by the April deadline
- Use IRS Direct Pay for debit or credit payments
- Enroll in a payment plan to pay over 6-12 months
Similar to refunds, you can check the status of tax payments here.
If facing financial hardship, explore requesting an Offer in Compromise for tax debt relief.
Get Ahead with 2025 Tax Planning
As the April deadline nears, now is also the time to start tax planning for 2025. Steps to take include:
- Review income and life changes to project 2025 tax scenarios
- Adjust federal income tax withholding using an updated Form W-4
- Boost 401k, HSA, FSA contributions to lower taxable income
- Harvest investment losses to offset future capital gains
- Meet with a tax pro to discuss projections and optimization strategies
Proactive planning gives you more control over your 2025 tax picture rather than leaving it until next spring.
- Standard federal tax return deadline is April 16th, 2024
- File extension by April 16 for October 15th, 2024 deadline
- Begin gathering all tax documents now
- Review return thoroughly before submitting to avoid errors
- E-file and use direct deposit for fastest refunds
- Contact the IRS directly if refund seems delayed
- Pay electronically or via payment plan if owing taxes
- Start tax planning now to optimize for 2025
Staying organized, filing early, and understanding deadlines makes navigating tax season each year much smoother. Consult a certified tax expert whenever you have questions or need guidance on optimizing your tax situation.