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With Only 5 Weeks Left To File Your Tax Returns, Here Are Some Useful Tips

It is recommended to get done with the task of filing taxes ASAP to avoid the stress of the deadline
 Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Joe Raedle
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Joe Raedle

Americans are four weeks into the 2024 tax season, and the IRS has already received millions of tax returns and sent back billions in refunds. However, with five weeks to go until the April 15 deadline, several people still have filing taxes on top of their to-do lists, since filing tax returns can be a daunting task that is often left until the last minute. However, it is recommended to get done with the task of filing taxes ASAP to avoid the stress of the looming deadline. Since filing taxes, especially without professional help can be difficult, thus, here are some tips to start filing taxes for 2024.

Generally, anyone who earned at least $13,850 in gross income in 2023 must file a tax return in 2024. However, different rules apply to married people, older Americans, and heads of household. The threshold applies for dependents as well, and the dependents who gained at least $1,250 in “unearned” income such as interest from investments also need to file a return.

Federal tax forms from 2005 | Getty Images | Photo Illustration
Getty Images | Photo Illustration

Here is a general list of documents that taxpayers need:

Social Security number

W-2 forms, for employed individuals

1099-G, for unemployed individuals

1099 forms, for self-employed individuals

Savings and investment records

 A tax payer looks at his rebate check | Getty Images | Photo by Spencer Platt
Getty Images | Photo by Spencer Platt

Tax deductions reduce the amount of income that is taxable, while tax credits reduce the amount of owed taxes. Here are a few common tax deductions and credits, according to Experian:

The Student loan interest deduction

The American Opportunity Tax Credit

The Earned Income Tax Credit

A sign advertising one day remaining before the tax filing deadline is posted in front of Liberty Tax Service | Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan
Getty Images | Photo by Justin Sullivan

American citizens have the option to file their taxes online or on paper. While paper filing can take up to six months, electronic filing takes just three weeks for IRS to process.

Here are some resources for filing taxes:

The IRS File: This is a pilot program that is available in 12 states including California and New York. People using the Direct File need W-2s, an employee’s wage, and a tax statement to file returns.

The IRS offers free guided tax preparation for people who make $79,000 or less per year.

There is an interactive tax assistant tool from the IRS as well, which provides answers based on tax payer’s information.

There are several popular companies as well that help with tax filing and other companies such as TurboTax and H&R Block, also help people hire licensed professionals, such as certified public accountants.

VITA and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program (TCE) are two more free resources from the IRS.

Further, there are clinics around the country that help taxpayers resolve their tax issues and offer services in several languages.

Representative Image | Pexels | Photo by Leeloo The First
Pexels | Photo by Leeloo The First

Tax season is prime time for tax scams, which can happen over calls, texts, emails, and social media. It is important to remember that the IRS will never use any of these means to contact taxpayers or demand any kind of immediate payment.

To be safe from scammers, it is best to ask them lots of questions and verify their license/certification. It is further recommended to steer clear of individuals who promise to get hefty, larger-than-real tax returns and from people who ask for an upfront payment instead of taking a percentage of the returns.