Are you just getting ready to tackle your 2022 income tax return? You’ve got plenty of company. There’s about a month left in the current tax filing season, which opened on Jan. 23, 2023, and will run until April 18, 2023 and the most recent IRS data indicates that, as of March 10, 2023, the IRS has received about 40% of the 168 million individual tax returns they expect to see this season.
To help the other 60% out, we have some tax filing advice below, including on why asking for an extension might be a smart move. If you’ve already filed, here’s guidance on tax refunds. Those topics, as well as the kinds of information you can find on IRS.gov. and tips for dealing with the IRS, were covered in our recent webinar (for subscribers only).
MORE FROM FORBESWatch: Your Taxes This Season: What You Need To KnowBy Forbes Membership
The IRS has upped its online game in recent years to include opportunities to check your online account, pay your tax bill, and find out the status of your tax refund. Despite that, web visits to IRS.gov remain down. The IRS has reported just 318,555,000 visits in 2023, down more than 20% from the previous year.
That’s likely because the IRS has made headway on its backlog. The IRS has confirmed that it has processed all paper and electronic individual returns received before January 2023 and is opening mail within normal time frames. They have processed all returns received for the tax year 2021 or earlier if those returns had no errors or did not require further review. As of March 4, 2023, the IRS reported 2.27 million unprocessed individual returns, including those for 2022, 2021 returns that need review or correction, and late filed prior year returns.
Current Filing Statistics
So far, the IRS has received 63,442,000 individual returns in 2023, compared with 63,474,000 over the same period in 2022, a slight downturn. However, the IRS continues to process individual income tax returns faster than last year—63,191,000 individual returns in 2023, compared to 61,962,000 in 2022.
As taxpayers pick up the filing pace—which traditionally happens as we inch closer to Tax Day, here are a few tips to consider:
- Slow down. Unless you’re reading this on April 19, you’re not late yet. There’s still time. Don’t get excited and fly through your return: you’ll only make mistakes.
- Check your numbers. The IRS cites missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers, math mistakes, and incorrect bank account numbers as some of the most common errors taxpayers make on their tax returns.
- Choose the right filing status. The IRS also singles out choosing the incorrect filing status as a routine error. For more information, check out this article about choosing between married filing jointly and married filing separately—or click through IRS Pub 501.
- Make sure that you have all of your forms. You should have received most of your forms by now. Employers must furnish you with a Form W-2 by January 31, 2023—here’s how to read yours. January 31 is also the due date for most Forms 1099. But keep in mind that some forms, like those related to pass-through entities or certain retirement accounts, might not have arrived yet. Don’t file your return until you’ve confirmed you have all your docs in a row.
- Don’t skip questions. Make sure you answer all of the questions on your tax return, including the digital assets/cryptocurrency tick box on the front of your Form 1040. Sometimes, something as simple as not checking a yes/no box can delay the processing of your return.
- Pay attention to updates. It’s easy to make mistakes figuring complicated credits like the earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and child tax credit—especially when there are changes in the law.
- Don’t forget life-related changes. Got married or divorced? Had a baby? Said goodbye to a child who moved into a new apartment? Bought or sold a house? All of those things can make a difference to your bottom line. Be sure to share that information with your tax professional or make those changes on your self-prepared return.
Not-So-Last Minute Advice
If you’re still not ready to file, consider filing for an extension. Just remember that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay—if you expect to owe, send your payment before the due date.
MORE FROM FORBESYour Quick Guide To Tax Refunds In 2023By Kelly Phillips Erb