Tax Filing Season JUMPSTART

A Comprehensive CHECKLIST for Filing Your 2023 Taxes in 2024

This is a BattlePlan Virtual digital content, research, informational business discussion/explainer.

Early Update!!

If you’re planning to file your 2023 taxes sans professional tax preparer please know that task organization is key! Before preparing your taxes, use a checklist. I have a comprehensive one for you below. You’ll be surprised at how much time you save by pre-organizing your information.

Before you start to prepare your income tax return consult your checklist and have the information that applies to you available for the tax preparer.

Place your checklist in an online file folder or attach it to the outside of a physical folder.

As you locate and receive tax documents, place them in the folder and check them off your list.

Enter information and amounts that are not pre-populated [online] or not already available, such as bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit.

If you use programs such as Quicken, Intuit Mint, FreshBooks, etc., to track your finances, print a report of your transactions for the tax year you are filing for to make preparation much easier. Having this information in a report is way easier than wading through checks and bank statements for the entire year. Another positive is that doing this will help you see where your money goes each year. As you review the report, highlight what you’ll need for your tax return and make reminder notes.

REMEMBER, the IRS needs to know EXACTLY who is filing and who is covered in your tax return, so you must have social security numbers and dates of birth for ALL who are included on your return.

Here’s a 10-Step CHECKLIST to help you organize for filing your 2023 taxes in 2024: 

1. Gather the tax documents that apply to YOU, such as: 

W-2 forms: These are provided by your employer(s) and show your income and taxes withheld. 

1099 forms: 

  • 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC: For If you’re self-employed or received additional income. 
  • 1099-DIV or 1099-B: For investment statements: Collect any 1099-DIV or 1099-B forms that show income from investments or capital gains/losses. 
  • 1099-C: For income from sales of property—original cost and cost of improvements, escrow closing statement, canceled debt information
  • 1099-G: For income from state and local income tax refunds and/or unemployment: forms 
  • 1099-K: For reporting payments from payment apps [i.e.: Cash App, Venmo] or online marketplaces [i.e.: Airbnb, Uber] when the gross payment amount is more than $600 for the year.
  • 1099-R: For IRA/pension distributions

Mortgage interest statements: If you own a home, gather your Form 1098, which reflects the mortgage interest you paid. 

Student loan statements: If you have student loans, obtain Form 1098-E, which details the interest paid. 

Medical and childcare expenses: Collect receipts and statements for any qualified medical or childcare expenses. 

Charitable contribution receipts: Gather any receipts for charitable donations made throughout the year. 

Other potential tax documents: Be sure to collect any other relevant tax documents specific to your situation [i.e.: rental property income/expense records, tuition statements; Form 6252 regarding installment sale information such as principal and Interest collected during the year; miscellaneous income such as jury duty, gambling winnings, etc.]. 

2. Organize your expenses and deductions: Sort your receipts and expense records into relevant categories [i.e.: medical expenses, business expenses].  Keep track of deductions like mortgage interest, property taxes, state/local income taxes, and student loan interest. – Ensure you have supporting documentation for all expenses and deductions. 

3. Review tax law changes and updates for the tax year 2023.  Consider updated deduction limits, tax brackets, and any new credits or exemptions that may impact your return. 

4. Determine your filing status: Review and determine which filing status [i.e.: single, married filing jointly, head of household] is appropriate for you.

 5. Choose your preferred filing method: Decide whether you will file your taxes manually using paper forms or file electronically using tax software or an online platform. 

6. Consider tax credits and deductions: Explore available tax credits [i.e.: child tax credit, education credits] and deductions [i.e.: IRA contributions, student loan interest] to potentially reduce your tax liability. 

7. Complete your tax return:  Input all your income, deductions, and credits accurately into the appropriate tax forms or software. Double-check your entries, ensuring accuracy and completeness. 

8. Review and proofread your return: Thoroughly review your completed tax return and make sure all information is accurate. Verify that all calculations are correct and all necessary forms are attached. 

9. Sign and submit your return:  If filing manually, sign your tax return and mail it to the appropriate tax authority. If filing electronically, follow the instructions provided by your chosen tax software or online platform. 

10. Make a copy of your tax return: Keep a copy of your tax return and all supporting documents for your records. 

Other Things to Think About for Tax Season…

Remember, depending on your specific tax situation, it may be advisable to consult with a Tax Professional to ensure thorough and accurate completion of your tax return.

How to reduce the amount of your income that is taxed, which can increase your tax refund or lower the amount you owe.

Remember, properly documenting the taxes you’ve already paid can keep you from overpaying, such as estimated tax payments made during the year and any amount paid with an extension to file.

Consider the credits and deductions the government offers to help lower the tax burden.

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