The sooner you start gathering your tax forms and getting ready to file, the less stress you're likely to feel as Tax Day approaches.
If you’re like most taxpayers, you probably have a file or folder filling up with tax forms and receipts. While it might be tempting to put off the day of reckoning, Tax Day will be here before you know it. The sooner you start organizing your return, the less stress you’re likely to feel as the tax filing deadline approaches.
“Don’t wait until the last minute when it comes to your taxes,” said Hayden Adams, CPA, CFP®, and director of tax planning and wealth management at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. “If you can get a head start, you can break the job up into smaller, more manageable tasks and avoid a lot of the usual anxiety.”
Here’s a handy reminder of what you’ll need to prepare, along with some tips for avoiding mistakes.
Filing taxes usually goes hand in hand with tax forms—whether paper or electronic. Depending on your individual situation, you may receive a lot of them. That’s reason enough for starting early—if you find you’re missing one, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to track it down.
Here are some of the most common IRS forms you may need for your taxes:
When you receive each form, check it for errors. If you find any, ask the responsible party to correct them as soon as possible or your tax return could be held up.
If your deductions exceed the standard deduction for 2023—$13,850 for single filers, $20,800 for heads of household, and $27,700 for joint filers—it makes sense to itemize them so you can keep more of your earnings.
That requires proof in the form of receipts and other documentation to support your figures. You don’t have to submit the receipts with your tax return, but you’ll need them in case you’re audited by the IRS.
“You don’t want to be caught without them, so be sure to save them for at least seven years,” Hayden said. “If you lost or didn’t save some of this information, don’t fret—you may be able to use other documents, such as credit card statements or canceled checks, as evidence during an audit.”
Sometimes filing on time just isn’t possible. Unexpected events can interfere with your ability to file, as can delays in receiving tax forms.
Your 2023 return will be due April 15. If you think you might miss the deadline, you can file for an extension, giving you until October 15 to complete your return. But keep in mind, you still need to estimate and pay any taxes you owe by Tax Day to avoid possible penalties.
Finally, be mindful of common issues that often trip up taxpayers. Hayden, who spent eight years at the IRS before joining Schwab, said he saw taxpayers make the same mistakes over and over again. Using tax-preparation software can increase the overall accuracy of your return and help identify all the deductions you may be entitled to. But even the best tax software won’t catch basic inputting errors.
If you realize you filed your return with a mistake or forgot to include something, file an amended return as soon as possible. It’s also never a bad idea to call for back-up—consider enlisting a tax professional to answer specific questions, give your return a second look, or even prepare it from start to finish.
The key to filing taxes is being prepared. TD Ameritrade provides information and resources to help you navigate tax season.
Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information
Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type.
Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.
The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.
All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed.
Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.
The Schwab Center for Financial Research is a division of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”) and TD Ameritrade, Inc., members SIPC, are separate but affiliated subsidiaries of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.
Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.
Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.
Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.
This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.
TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2024 Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.