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IRS Kicks Off 2024 Tax Season with Systems Upgrade

IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started accepting and processing 2023 federal income tax returns on Monday, January 29, 2024. Taxpayers have until April 15 to file their returns without requiring an extension. 

The IRS expects around 130 million individual tax returns this year. Approximately 93% of returns are projected to be filed electronically. Taxpayers can submit returns like Form 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ electronically or by mailing paper copies. However, the IRS strongly encourages utilizing e-filing and direct deposit for the fastest and most convenient experience. 

Typically, the IRS issues refunds within three weeks of receiving electronically filed returns. Opting for direct deposit instead of mailed checks can further speed up the refund process. It offers a faster way to get refunds. 

The IRS has been upgrading its systems using funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. Taxpayers can now benefit from enhancements like improved digital correspondence, extended in-person hours at Tax Assistance Centers, shorter wait times on IRS call centers, and an upgraded “Where’s My Refund?” tool. These improvements aim to streamline and improve the tax filing experience. 

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Critical Dates for Filers to Remember 

In a statement, IRS Commissioner, Danny Werfel expressed confidence that the ongoing changes will lead to “marked improvement in IRS operations” during tax season. It reflects a commitment to boosting efficiency and quality of service for taxpayers. 

Here are some other important dates for taxpayers to remember during the 2023 tax season: 

 January 31st

By Wednesday, January 31, businesses must issue W-2 forms to employees, either electronically or by mail. Reach out to employers by early February if W-2 is not received. The IRS can assist at 800-TAX-1040, if employers are unresponsive. 

Businesses must also issue certain 1099 forms to recipients by January 31, including 1099-NEC, 1099-MISC, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT, and 1099-R. Contact 1099 payers if received early in February, or call 800-TAX-1040 for help. 

February 15

The IRS is required by law to withhold refunds for filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. It gives the revenue body time to match data from individual tax returns to that on the W-2 forms filed by employers. Refunds for many will be available starting on February 27.

Companies must provide brokerage 1099 statements like 1099-B and 1099-S to recipients by February 15 electronically or by mail. 

March 15 

By March 15, partners and partnership investors must submit partnership returns to the IRS, including Schedule K-1s detailing individual earnings, losses, and dividends. Taxpayers should retain Schedule K-1s for records unless instructed otherwise. 

Partnerships can request a 6-month extension to file returns. It is separate from any extensions for individual returns. 

For most filers, April 15 is the Tax Day deadline to submit returns electronically, postmark paper returns, or request an automatic extension. Residents of Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17 due to holidays. 

Taxpayers can request a 6-month extension by paying taxes online, selecting the extension option, or mailing payments with Form 4868. However, the estimated tax liability must be paid by April 15 to avoid penalties. 

 April 15 –Tax Day!

By April 15, taxpayers can make 2023 contributions to traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, HSAs, and solo 401(k)s. Excess contributions can also be withdrawn if returns are unfiled. It’s an important window for financial adjustments. 

If over $10,000 was held in foreign accounts during 2023, Form 114 must be filed by this date. Taxpayers with household employees in 2023 should file Schedule H and pay taxes with their IRS tax returns. 

Those making estimated payments must submit their first 2024 installment by April 15 to comply with deadlines. 

Special Circumstances for Some Filers 

June 17

By June 17, U.S. taxpayers abroad or on military duty overseas should have completed filing or request a 4-month extension. They should file returns online or mail payments with Form 4868 for extensions. It’s a key deadline for those with special circumstances. 

Taxpayers making estimated payments should also submit their second 2024 installment by June 17. 

 September 16

Partners who got a 6-month extension must file partnership returns and distribute Schedule K-1s by September 16. It’s an important deadline for those who obtained extensions. 

September 16 also marks the deadline for the third estimated tax payment for 2024. Timely payments help avoid penalties. 

 October 15

For those with 6-month extensions, October 15 is the final deadline to file 2023 returns. It also applies to U.S. taxpayers abroad who obtained 4-month extensions. 

October 15 is also the deadline for 2023 SEP IRA and solo 401(k) contributions by employers who extended returns by April 15. It enables optimized retirement contributions. 

 Watch Out For the IRS Deadlines

The US tax season comes with important deadlines and opportunities for taxpayers to maximize returns while minimizing hassles. Keeping key dates in mind helps ensure a smooth filing experience. With upgrades in place, the IRS aims to improve all processes. 

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