Tax season can be a smooth process if you follow some key steps.

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Here are the top 10 things everyone should do to get ready for tax preparation:

  1. Organize Financial Documents: Gather all necessary financial documents, including W-2s, 1099s, receipts, and any other relevant forms. Having a designated folder or file for these documents can make the process of being ready for tax season more efficient.
  2. Update Personal Information: Ensure that your personal information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number, is up to date. Notify the relevant parties if there have been any changes.
  3. Understand Tax Deductions: Familiarize yourself with common tax deductions and credits. This knowledge can help you maximize your deductions and potentially reduce your tax liability.
  4. Review Previous Tax Returns: Look at your previous year's tax return to identify any recurring items or changes in your financial situation. This can serve as a helpful reference for the current year.
  5. Stay Informed on Tax Law Changes: Be aware of any changes in tax laws that may affect your filing. Tax laws can change annually, so staying informed will ensure you are taking advantage of all available benefits.
  6. Explore Tax Software or Consult a Professional: Decide whether you will use tax software to prepare your own taxes or if you prefer to consult with a tax professional. Choose the option that aligns with your comfort level and the complexity of your financial situation.
  7. Consider Retirement Contributions: Evaluate your retirement contributions and see if you can contribute more to tax-advantaged accounts. Contributing to retirement accounts can potentially lower your taxable income.
  8. Check for Filing Deadlines: Know the tax filing deadlines and any extensions available. Filing on time can help you avoid penalties and interest on any taxes owed.
  9. Plan for Refunds or Payments: If you expect a tax refund, plan how you will use it. If you owe taxes, consider how you will make payments, and explore any payment plans or options available.
  10. Be Aware of Scams: Be cautious of tax scams and phishing attempts. The IRS typically communicates through official channels, and it's essential to verify the authenticity of any communication you receive.

By following these steps, you can streamline the tax preparation process and ensure that you're taking advantage of all available opportunities to optimize your financial situation.  This article is handy information to help you with tax season, but make sure you consult with a tax professisonal for advice like the latest changes to the tax code.

Always Shred your old tax records to avoid having your confidential records fall into the wrong hands.

The tax year 2024 adjustments described below generally apply to income tax returns filed in 2025. The tax items for tax year 2024 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts:

  • The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly for tax year 2024 rises to $29,200, an increase of $1,500 from tax year 2023. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $14,600 for 2024, an increase of $750 from 2023; and for heads of households, the standard deduction will be $21,900 for tax year 2024, an increase of $1,100 from the amount for tax year 2023.
  • Marginal rates: For tax year 2024, the top tax rate remains 37% for individual single taxpayers with incomes greater than $609,350 ($731,200 for married couples filing jointly).The other rates are:

    35% for incomes over $243,725 ($487,450 for married couples filing jointly)
    32% for incomes over $191,950 ($383,900 for married couples filing jointly)
    24% for incomes over $100,525 ($201,050 for married couples filing jointly)
    22% for incomes over $47,150 ($94,300 for married couples filing jointly)
    12% for incomes over $11,600 ($23,200 for married couples filing jointly)

    The lowest rate is 10% for incomes of single individuals with incomes of $11,600 or less ($23,200 for married couples filing jointly).

  • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2024 is $85,700 and begins to phase out at $609,350 ($133,300 for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $1,218,700). For comparison, the 2023 exemption amount was $81,300 and began to phase out at $578,150 ($126,500 for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption began to phase out at $1,156,300).
  • The tax year 2024 maximum Earned Income Tax Credit amount is $7,830 for qualifying taxpayers who have three or more qualifying children, an increase of from $7,430 for tax year 2023. The revenue procedure contains a table providing maximum EITC amount for other categories, income thresholds and phase-outs.
  • For tax year 2024, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit and the monthly limitation for qualified parking increases to $315, an increase of $15 from the limit for 2023.
  • For the taxable years beginning in 2024, the dollar limitation for employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending arrangements increases to $3,200. For cafeteria plans that permit the carryover of unused amounts, the maximum carryover amount is $640, an increase of $30 from taxable years beginning in 2023.
  • For tax year 2024, participants who have self-only coverage in a Medical Savings Account, the plan must have an annual deductible that is not less than $2,800, an increase of $150 from tax year 2023, but not more than $4,150, an increase of $200 from tax year 2023. For self-only coverage, the maximum out-of-pocket expense amount is $5,550, an increase of $250 from 2023. For tax year 2024, for family coverage, the annual deductible is not less than $5,550, an increase of $200 from tax year 2023; however, the deductible cannot be more than $8,350, an increase of $450 versus the limit for tax year 2023. For family coverage, the out-of-pocket expense limit is $10,200 for tax year 2024, an increase of $550 from tax year 2023.
  • For tax year 2024, the foreign earned income exclusion is $126,500, increased from $120,000 for tax year 2023.
  • Estates of decedents who die during 2024 have a basic exclusion amount of $13,610,000, increased from $12,920,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2023.
  • The annual exclusion for gifts increases to $18,000 for calendar year 2024, increased from $17,000 for calendar year 2023.
  • The maximum credit allowed for adoptions for tax year 2024 is the amount of qualified adoption expenses up to $16,810, increased from $15,950 for 2023.
  • SOURCE: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-provides-tax-inflation-adjustments-for-tax-year-2024