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Tax Season 2024: When Is the First Day? What Do You Need to Know?

Everything you need to know about tax season 2024 and how to file for your tax returns

A close-up of a typewriter with a tax return sign on it

As the calendar pages turned and we stepped into a new year, a familiar season followed closely—not spring, not summer, but the inevitable tax season. 

The question on most people’s minds is this: When is the first day of tax season 2024? Well, the IRS announced that January 29 officially kicked off this period of the year, so the season is underway.

In fact, most people who have already filed and have no issues with their tax returns are expected to start receiving their EITC/Additional CTC-related refunds from February 27—possibly earlier. If you haven’t already, you still have until April 15 before this tax season’s deadline closes—but you need much more information than that to make the best of the tax season. 

Everything you need to tackle your taxes this year

To start with, it’s important to understand how the fiscal calendar works and the significance of both the first day of the tax season and the deadline for filing tax returns. The first day of the tax season is the starting line for a journey that millions of taxpayers embark on—armed with their W-2s, 1099s, and a myriad of other documents, all in the pursuit of fulfilling their civic duties while maximizing their returns.

Completing your taxes isn't always straightforward, especially if you're not a tax professional or familiar with the most recent tax legislation. The regulations differ by year and individual, based on your filing status, age, income, and other considerations. 

But tax season doesn't have to be a trek through a bureaucratic wilderness. Consider this article as a compass, designed to provide all the necessary information and guide you through the tax season—with practical advice, key dates, and the wisdom you need to make informed decisions. From understanding the significance of the important dates to unraveling the complexities of tax regulations, we're here to illuminate the path ahead.

This article will help transform the daunting tax preparation task into a manageable, even empowering, undertaking. Whether you're a seasoned filer or new to the game, what you need to know about tax season is right here, laid out in a way that’s both accessible and comprehensive. So, come along, and let's demystify tax season 2024 together as you read through the next sections.

Understanding tax season 2024 

Tax season is a period each year when taxpayers prepare financial reports and submit their tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). For many, it's a time marked by questions and confusion, but it doesn't have to be.

As of January 29, 2024, tax season is in full swing, signaling the IRS's readiness to accept and process your tax returns. Knowing this information is crucial as it sets the pace for your tax preparation journey, allowing you to plan and avoid the last-minute rush that can lead to mistakes or overlooked deductions.

Preparing for the tax season

Preparation is key to a smooth tax season. Start by gathering all necessary documents such as W-2 forms from employers, 1099 forms if you're self-employed, investment income statements, and any deductions or credits you plan to claim. Organizing these documents early can save you time and stress as the deadline approaches. 

It’s also the perfect time to decide whether you’ll be doing your taxes yourself or seeking the help of a professional. There are so many advantages to employing the services of tax planning experts, as this takes the burden of responsibility off you, maximizes your tax potential, and leaves very little margin for error. 

Tax season 2024 key dates and deadlines

Apart from the first tax day—January 29, 2024—there are other important dates to keep in mind. The deadline for filing tax returns is typically April 15, unless it falls on a weekend or a holiday, in which case it's pushed to the next business day. This year, the date falls on a Monday, so you have to get your filings in on that day. 

There is, however, an exception if you’re filing in Maine or Massachusetts, as the deadline is not until April 17 for these two states.

Additionally, if you request an extension, you'll have until October 15 to file your taxes. It’s important to mark these dates on your calendar and set reminders to ensure you don't miss any deadlines.

Changes and updates for the tax season

Each tax season brings potential changes to tax laws and regulations. For tax season 2024, it's important to stay informed about any new tax legislation that might affect your filing, such as adjustments to tax brackets, deductions, and credits. These changes can significantly impact your tax liability, so it’s vital to understand them. 

An effective alternative is to hire professional tax advisers to help you through the process. Qualified tax advisers are always informed of any new changes and will be able to let you know if and how these affect you.

Resources and help for tax season 2024

Feeling overwhelmed? There's a wealth of resources available to help you through tax season 2024. The IRS website is a treasure trove of information, offering guides, tax calculators, and answers to frequently asked questions. 

Again, using the services of a tax professional will assure you of personalized advice, as they will provide guidance tailored to your specific financial situation.

Tax season common questions and concerns

It’s normal to have questions as you prepare your tax return. Some common inquiries include how to file electronically, the best ways to maximize deductions and credits, and what to do if you owe taxes but can't pay by the deadline. Addressing these concerns early on can alleviate stress and help ensure that you're making the best decisions for your financial health.

Maximizing tax deductions and credits

To ensure you're maximizing your deductions and credits, start by understanding what's available to you. Common deductions include charitable contributions, home mortgage interest, and educational expenses. 

Credits may include the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and education credits. Utilize IRS resources or consult with a tax professional to ensure you're not overlooking any opportunities to reduce your tax bill.

What to do if I owe taxes but can't pay by the deadline? 

The IRS understands that taxpayers may face financial difficulties. If you find yourself unable to pay the full amount owed by the deadline, don't panic. The IRS offers payment plans and options for those who need more time to pay. It's crucial to file your return on time, even if you can't pay immediately, to avoid late filing penalties.

Filing for tax refund online versus through mail

Filing your tax return electronically is not only efficient but also the quickest way to get your refund. Electronic filing can be done via IRS Free File which has been accessible on the IRS website ahead of the filing season since January 12. 

This option is only available to taxpayers who meet certain income criteria, but there are numerous tax software programs available that can guide almost anyone through the process step by step. Electronic filing is secure, and you receive an immediate confirmation once your return has been received by the IRS. 

The IRS Direct File experiment will be phased in when final testing is finished, and it is scheduled to be broadly available to qualified taxpayers in the participating states by the middle of March.

If you file on paper and are given a refund, you will have to wait longer to get your check. Not only must you wait for the postal system to send your paper return, but processing it will take longer. To handle your mail, an IRS employee must open it and input your information manually.

What is the timeframe to receive my refund after filing?

For those eager to receive their refund, the IRS typically issues refunds within 21 days or less of receiving your electronic filing, provided you didn't claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. These credits may require additional processing time, so patience is key. 

Electronic filing with direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your refund and can help ease any financial anxieties you might have post-filing. Also, addressing these concerns early in your tax preparation process can significantly alleviate stress and help you make informed decisions for your financial health.

Can I check the progress of my tax return filing?

Absolutely! The most up-to-date information on your tax return and refund is available on the Where's My Refund? Page on the IRS website or the IRS2Go mobile app. You can also request information about your tax refunds for 2022 or 2021.

You can start checking 24 hours after e-filing a 2023 tax return or four weeks after submitting a paper return. According to the IRS, data is updated once a day, generally at night, so there is no reason to check more frequently.

Navigate the tax season with confidence

Man in white crew neck t-shirt wearing black-framed eyeglasses

As we wrap up our tax season 2024 guide, remember that the key to conquering this season lies in preparation, organization, and the willingness to seek help when needed. By marking the first tax day on your calendar, staying abreast of changes in tax laws, and utilizing available resources, you can approach tax season with confidence and peace of mind.

We've discussed the importance of early preparation, the significance of key dates and deadlines within the fiscal year tax season, and the resources available to help guide you through any uncertainties. These tools and insights are designed not only to prepare you for tax season 2024 but also to empower you with the confidence to navigate future tax seasons with greater ease and assurance.

As you move forward, remember that questions and concerns are natural. The landscape of taxation is ever-evolving, with changes that can impact even the most seasoned tax filers. Yet, it's this continuous learning and adaptation that sharpens our skills and knowledge, making each tax season not just an obligation, but an opportunity for growth and financial empowerment.

We encourage you to embrace the 2024 tax season as an informed, prepared, and confident participant in the grand scheme of fiscal responsibility. Whether you're meticulously organizing your documents, filing by yourself, or consulting with a tax professional, know that you're taking proactive steps toward mastering an important aspect of your financial well-being.


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