Tax tips: Getting started as deadline to file, request extension approaches

ByAlexis Christoforous ABCNews logo
Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Tax Tips: Getting started as deadline to file, request extention approaches
The deadline to file your income taxes is quickly approaching. Tax day is April 15

The deadline to file your income taxes is quickly approaching.

Here's what you need to know before filing your 2023 taxes.

Tax day is April 15, which means you either have to file your taxes or file an extension by midnight on Monday.

"You should note though that payments are due April 15, so if you need an extension, that's just an extension to get the paperwork in. It doesn't shift your financial responsibility," said Ted Rossman, with Bankrate.

That also means penalties and interest will apply to late payments.

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Before sitting down to file, gather documents that report your income, investment account statements and any financial forms that show deductible expenses, like your home mortgage.

You can use free or low-cost software to file on your own.

"I'm actually of the mind that most people can do their taxes on their own. Software has come a long way in recent years. And you know, that's the key," Rossman said. "You don't need to sit down with, like, a calculator and a pencil."

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If you decide to use a professional tax preparer, here are some things to keep in mind.

"Just make sure that you do your homework," said Luis Garcia, with the IRS. "Make sure that it's somebody who's going to be there after the 15 of April if you have any questions."

Anyone who prepares taxes for money must have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN).

"They must sign that return and put their PTIN number, which you can go to and look under a directory of providers and look up, make sure that PTIN is correct and it matches that person's name," Garcia said.

There are some changes for this filing season compared to last year. Due to inflation, the IRS increased the standard deduction and tax brackets were adjusted.

Under the Inflation Reduction Act, there are new clean vehicle credits that kick in this year.

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"New this year, you can get a credit for used electric vehicles of up to the lesser of 30% of the purchase price, or $4,000," said Lisa Greene-Lewis, with TurboTax.

And the home energy tax credits have been expanded.

"So before there was a lifetime credit only, and that was up to $500, so you could only get that $500 in a lifetime. Now it's up to $1,200 per year," Greene-Lewis said.

There's been buzz about changes to the child tax credit, but as of right now it is the same as last year. If the credit is expanded and your taxes are impacted, the IRS will adjust your return and refund, so don't wait to file.