Texas Border Business
By Ken Corbin
IRS Wage and Investment Commissioner and Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer
Options to make tax filing easier and free in 2023
Tax planning is important for everyone, including people who traditionally don’t file a tax return. A special page on IRS.gov outlines steps taxpayers can take to prepare to file a 2022 tax return. The IRS and our tax partners are conducting outreach to urge people to think ahead about the information they will need to file complete and accurate tax returns, and to file a return even if they haven’t in the past so they can get all the credits for which they are eligible.
Taxpayers have many choices when it comes to preparing their tax returns. We want you to know that there are free options for most taxpayers:
What’s new and what to consider when filing in 2023
Most people only interact with the IRS when they file their individual income tax return. Some people haven’t had to file returns in the past but now need to because they’ve become eligible for tax credits, and filing a return is the only way to get those credits. When it comes to your taxes and refunds, it’s important to be well-informed and prepared, and we’re here to help. Some key points to consider:
- Filing a 2022 tax return, even if you don’t have to, could put money in your pocket. While people with income under a certain amount aren’t generally required to file a tax return, those who qualify for certain tax credits or already paid some federal income tax by having taxes withheld from a paycheck may qualify for a tax refund available only by filing a return. This can include students, part-time workers and retirees.
- Electronic filing and direct deposit are key to getting the fastest refund. Filing electronically with direct deposit is important because it can help avoid refund delays. If you need a tax refund quickly, don’t file on paper. Most people with no issues on their tax return should receive their refund within 21 days of filing electronically if they choose direct deposit.
- More people may be eligible for the Premium Tax Credit. For tax year 2022, taxpayers may still qualify for temporarily expanded eligibility for the Premium Tax Credit, or PTC. The PTC is for certain people who enroll, or whose family member enrolls, in a qualified health plan. Qualified taxpayers must file Form 8962 to compute and take the PTC on their tax return.
- Eligibility rules changed to claim a tax credit for clean vehicles. Review the changes under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to qualify for a Clean Vehicle Credit.
- Refunds may be smaller in 2023. Several factors contribute to this. For example, taxpayers will not receive an additional stimulus payment with their tax refund because there were no Economic Impact Payments for 2022. In addition, taxpayers who don’t itemize and take the standard deduction won’t be able to deduct their charitable contributions like they were able to on their 2021 returns.
- Use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool to check on your refund status. Taxpayers can check Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov for a personalized refund status within 24 hours after the IRS accepts their e-filed tax return. The “Where’s My Refund?” tool updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight.
- Remember, refunds that include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) cannot be issued before mid-February. While the IRS began accepting returns Jan. 23, we cannot issue a refund that includes the EITC or the ACTC before mid-February. Why is that? The 2015 PATH Act law passed by Congress provided additional time to help the IRS process those returns and stop fraudulent refunds from being issued. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund – not just the portion associated with EITC or ACTC. The IRS expects most EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by Feb. 28 if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return. Use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool to check on your refund status. Most early EITC/ACTC filers should see an updated status by Feb. 18.
Other tips to keep in mind
In addition, here are key things I want to highlight:
- Remember that most income is taxable, even if you didn’t receive a year-end document such as Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income; Form 1099-INT, Interest Income; Form 1099-NEC, Non-employee Compensation. That includes interest received or money earned from the gig economy or digital assets.
- There are many resources on IRS.gov that simplify your filing experience. To start with, I love to tell people about the easiest way to get answers to the most common tax questions: the Interactive Tax Assistant. It’s a tool that provides answers to several tax law questions specific to your individual circumstances. Based on your input, it can determine if you must file a tax return, your filing status, if you can claim a dependent, if the type of income you have is taxable, if you’re eligible to claim a credit, if you can deduct expenses and more.
- When you are looking for your tax information, there is no need to call or visit the IRS. Instead, you can view or create an Online Account, which gives you a way to securely access your personal tax account information including your balance, payments, adjusted gross income and more. And now, it’s easier for more taxpayers to use an Online Account with our identity verification process. After you go through the identity verification process, you can also request a copy of the tax record you need online, including transcripts of past tax returns, tax account information, wage and income statements, and verification of non-filing letters.
- If you’re self-preparing your taxes and filing electronically, you’ll have to sign and validate your tax return by entering your prior-year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or your prior-year Self-Select PIN. If you have your 2021 tax return, your AGI is on line 11 of the Form 1040. If you didn’t keep a copy of your 2021 tax return, you can log in to your Online Account to find your prior-year AGI.
- We continue making substantial progress on previously filed tax returns. For those waiting on their 2021 tax return to be processed, you can still file your 2022 tax return when you are ready. Just make sure to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s AGI. At the end of January, we finished processing all individual tax returns received in 2022 unless there was an issue with the return.
- Bookmark IRS.gov online tools and resources. A wealth of tax information and tools are available anytime on IRS.gov, so make it your first stop to get answers to tax questions, check a refund status or pay taxes. There’s no wait time or appointment needed; our online tools and resources are always available.
- And last, I know that there are times when you just need to talk to us. You can make an appointment at an IRS local office to get help. Appointment times vary by tax issues and office locations. You can find the office closest to you with our Taxpayer Assistance Locator tool. Once you find your local office, see what services are available before scheduling an appointment. And, if you can’t visit us during our regular weekday hours, we’ll open more than 100 of our Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide one Saturday a month through May to offer in-person help without an appointment.
Information Source: IRS