Everything You Need to Prepare for Filing Your Taxes in 2023

Written by Amy Boyington | April 13, 2023

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We are knee-deep into tax season, which ends on April 18. It’s one of the most dreaded times of the year for many, but it doesn’t need to be! Being prepared for tax season boils down to …

  1. Knowing the forms and info you’ll need to gather to file your taxes
  2. Keeping those documents organized throughout the year

When you have a system in place for tax preparation and filing, you’ll be well prepared to handle whatever tax season throws at you. We’re here to help provide you with the tax-filing basics so that you can get the most out of your tax return.

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Top Tips for Filing Your Tax Return

FAQs for Filing Taxes in 2023

When can you start filing taxes in 2023?

The 2023 tax filing season began on January 23, 2023. Although tax filers could begin filing as of this day, it’s important to ensure that all the necessary paperwork has been collected to do so. Many tax forms you'll need to file, like your W-2 or 1099-NEC, usually arrive around early February.

When is the deadline to file 2023 taxes?

Most taxpayers must file and pay any owed taxes by April 18, 2023. If you need an extension, you must also file for one by April 18. The extension grants you another six months to file (by October 16).

What is the penalty for filing taxes late?

If you miss filing your taxes by the deadline, you could face a penalty of 5% per month of your unpaid taxes. Failing to pay owed taxes on time results in a penalty of 0.5% of your taxes due for every unpaid month. Refer to IRS resources to learn about other types of penalties.

What is the income threshold for filing taxes?

You do not need to file taxes if you earn less than $12,950 for the 2022 tax year and are single, under 65 years old, and don't have special filing circumstances. If you aren't sure if you need to file, you can use this IRS tool to help.

After filing my 2023 taxes, how long will it take to get a refund?

The IRS issues many refunds within 21 days of receiving your taxes. However, refunds with some credits, like the earned income tax credit, may take longer to process. Use the Where's My Refund? tool or the IRS2Go App to check your refund status.

Tax Prep Checklist

Tax Prep Checklist: Everything You Need to File Your Taxes in 2023

Below is a checklist of required documents and information you’ll need to file your taxes (although some may not be applicable to you). For more tax filing guidance, head over to our guide on top tax filing tips.

  • You and your dependents’ Social Security numbers
  • All income information, including W-2s and 1099s
  • College tuition expenses
  • Mortgage and property tax information
  • Medical bills and information about health insurance premiums
  • Unemployment information
  • Charitable donations
  • Educator expenses
  • Child or dependent care expenses
  • Business income and expenses
  • Home or separate business office information
  • Gambling income
  • Paid or received alimony
  • Energy-saving home improvement documentation
  • Rental property income
  • Tax payments you’ve made for federal, state, and local tax

Find Your Last Year’s Tax Return

Before you sit down to file your taxes, locate your federal and state tax returns from last year. Your return from last year is helpful for comparison to make sure you didn’t miss any important details. For example, you might have been eligible for a child care deduction last year that you also want to look into for this year. Scan through your returns before starting this year’s taxes and jot down some notes about credits and deductions to check for.

Decide If an Extension Is Best

The government gives some grace when it comes to filing taxes. Now is an opportune time to decide if you should ask for an extension, which will give you an extra six months to file. The October 18 due date could be helpful if April 18 is too soon for you if you need to locate a few documents or simply don’t have time in your schedule to file. Remember, you’ll still need to pay any taxes owed by April 18, even if you do file an extension.

Top Tips for Filing Your Tax Return

Top Tips for Filing Your Tax Return

Here are a few more best tax filing practices to keep your taxes as simple – and affordable – as possible.

1. File Your Taxes Yourself

Filing your own taxes doesn’t have to be scary. Sure, it might seem easier to bring all your paperwork to a professional to file. But that can also cost more money than filing on your own. And you might not even realize how simple filing can be when you use tax filing software like TurboTax.

TurboTax is one of the most popular tax services, which makes sense since the program walks you through each step of your taxes, asking you questions along the way to get you the appropriate forms.

It’s like having a personal tax preparer by your side. All you need to do is gather your organized documents, set aside some uninterrupted time to focus on your taxes, and get them done with the help of TurboTax.

2. Save Money on Filing

If you have simple taxes and an adjusted gross income (AGI) under $73,000, you may qualify for one of several free e-file systems that partner with the IRS Free File system. These exist to help taxpayers save money when filing. Some programs even allow you to file your state taxes for free, too.

If you’re not eligible for free e-filing, you can still save money on your taxes by using We have coupons and promotions for the most popular tax filing software in the industry. Find savings on tax products:

3. Save Copies of Your Taxes

Whether you file your taxes online or do it the old-fashioned way by mail, be sure to make copies of all your tax filing documents. You may need them for income verification for loans and other forms of credit, and they’ll come in handy again for next year’s tax season.

4. Organize Your Tax Documents

Organization is a must for tax preparation. Rather than scrambling to pull together your receipts, income information, and proof of expenses when you sit down to prepare your taxes, you’ll make your life a lot easier by keeping this information organized throughout the year.

The documents you need to file your taxes will vary, depending on your tax situation. If you hold just one job and don’t have many assets or expenses, filing your taxes should be relatively straightforward and won’t require a bunch of paperwork. However, people who own homes, purchase or sell stocks, own a business, or have other complicated tax situations, will likely have more items to file and spend more time on their taxes.

  • Make a spreadsheet. Organize it by week, month, or quarter, depending on what makes the most sense for you and your tax situation. Then, update it frequently. It’s best to add everything when it’s still fresh in your mind to make sure you’re not missing out on important deductions.
  • Scan and print important documents. A printer/scanner combination is one of the most valuable tools to have in your home for tax preparation. Use one product to print documents you need to file, like receipts from online purchases, and scan receipts and other documents you want to add to your digital library.
  • Use a filing system to keep documents organized. First, list how many types of documents you need to file. Then, assign them each a color. For example, you might use green for charitable donations, yellow for pay stubs, and purple for mortgage documents.
  • File documents digitally. Having digital copies of your tax documents can give you peace of mind that your information is always available. Use a service like QuickBooks. This digital program is perfect for people with more complex tax situations who have a lot of income and expenses to organize all year. Connect your bank account that handles your income and expenses, and QuickBooks will work its magic to sort everything into categories, taking some time off your hands.

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