WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to take simple steps before the end of the year to make filing their 2022 federal tax return easier. With a little advance preparation, a preview of tax changes and convenient online tools, taxpayers can approach the upcoming tax season with confidence.
Filers can visit the Get Ready webpage to find guidance on what’s new and what to consider when filing a 2022 tax return. They can also find helpful information on organizing tax records and a list of online tools and resources.
Get Ready by gathering tax records
When filers have all their tax documentation gathered and organized, they’re in the best position to file an accurate return and avoid processing or refund delays or receiving IRS letters. Now’s a good time for taxpayers to consider financial transactions that occurred in 2022, if they’re taxable and how they should be reported.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to develop an electronic or paper recordkeeping system to store tax-related information in one place for easy access. Taxpayers should keep copies of filed tax returns and their supporting documents for at least three years.
Before January, taxpayers should confirm that their employer, bank and other payers have their current mailing address and email address to ensure they receive their year-end financial statements. Typically, year-end forms start arriving by mail or are available online in mid-to-late January. Taxpayers should carefully review each income statement for accuracy and contact the issuer to correct information that needs to be updated.
Get Ready for what’s new for Tax Year 2022
With the end of the year approaching, time is running out to take advantage of the Tax Withholding Estimator. This online tool is designed to help taxpayers determine the right amount of tax to have withheld from their paycheck. Some people may have life changes like getting married or divorced, welcoming a child or taking on a second job. Other taxpayers may need to consider estimated tax payments due to non-wage income from unemployment, self-employment, annuity income or even digital assets. The last quarterly payment for 2022 is due on January 17, 2023. The Tax Withholding Estimator can help wage earners determine if there is a need to adjust their withholding, consider additional tax payments, or submit a new W-4 form to their employer to avoid an unexpected tax bill when they file.
Taxpayers should report the income they earned, including from part-time work, side jobs or the sale of goods. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 lowered the reporting threshold for third-party networks that process payments for those doing business. Prior to 2022, Form 1099-K was issued for third-party payment network transactions only if the total number of transactions exceeded 200 for the year and the aggregate amount of these transactions exceeded $20,000. Now a single transaction exceeding $600 can trigger a 1099-K. The lower information reporting threshold and the summary of income on Form 1099-K enables taxpayers to more easily track the amounts received. Remember, money received through third-party payment applications from friends and relatives as personal gifts or reimbursements for personal expenses is not taxable. Those who receive a 1099-K reflecting income they didn’t earn should call the issuer. The IRS cannot correct it.
Credit amounts also change each year like the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Dependent Care Credit. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov to determine their eligibility for tax credits. Some taxpayers may qualify this year for the expanded eligibility for the Premium Tax Credit, while others may qualify for a Clean Vehicle Credit through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Refunds may be smaller in 2023. Taxpayers will not receive an additional stimulus payment with a 2023 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.
The IRS cautions taxpayers not to rely on receiving a 2022 federal tax refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some returns may require additional review and may take longer. For example, the IRS and its partners in the tax industry, continue to strengthen security reviews to protect against identity theft. Additionally, refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) can’t be issued before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund – not just the portion associated with EITC or ACTC. This law helps ensure taxpayers receive the refund they’re due by giving the IRS time to detect and prevent fraud.
For taxpayers who are still waiting for confirmation that last year’s tax return processed, or for a tax year 2021 refund or stimulus payment to process, their patience is appreciated. As of November 11, 2022, the IRS had 3.7 million unprocessed individual returns received this year. These include tax year 2021 returns and late filed prior year returns. Of these, 1.7 million returns require error correction or other special handling, and 2 million are paper returns waiting to be reviewed and processed. They also had 900,000 unprocessed Forms 1040-X for amended tax returns. The IRS is processing these amended returns in the order received and the current timeframe can be more than 20 weeks. Taxpayers should continue to check Where’s My Amended Return? for the most up-to-date processing status available.
Renew expiring tax ID numbers
Taxpayers should ensure their Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) hasn’t expired before filing a 2022 tax return. Those who need to file a tax return, should submit a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number now, to renew their ITIN. Taxpayers who fail to renew an ITIN before filing a tax return next year could face a delayed refund and may be ineligible for certain tax credits. Applying now will help avoid the rush as well as refund and processing delays in 2023.
Bookmark the following tools on IRS.gov
Online tools are easy to use and available to taxpayers 24 hours a day. They provide key information about tax accounts and a convenient way to pay taxes. IRS.gov provides information in many languages and enhanced services for people with disabilities, including the Accessibility Helpline. Taxpayers who need accessibility assistance may call 833-690-0598. Taxpayers should use IRS.gov as their first and primary resource for accurate tax information.
- Let Us Help You page. The Let Us Help You page on IRS.gov has links to information and resources on a wide range of topics.
- Online Account.An IRS online account lets taxpayers securely access their personal tax information, including tax return transcripts, payment history, certain notices, prior year adjusted gross income and power of attorney information. Filers can log in to verify if their name and address is correct. They should notify IRS if their address has changed. They must notify the Social Security Administration of a legal name change to avoid a delay in processing their tax return.
- IRS Free File. Almost everyone can file electronically for free on IRS.gov/freefile or with the IRS2Go app. The IRS Free File program, available only through IRS.gov, offers brand-name tax preparation software packages at no cost. The software does all the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions for filers. It‘s free for those who qualify. Some Free File packages offer free state tax return preparation. Those who are comfortable preparing their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms, regardless of their income, to file their tax return either online or by mail.
- Find a tax professional. The Choosing a Tax Professional page on IRS.gov has a wealth of information to help filers choose a tax professional. In addition, the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help taxpayers find preparers in their area who hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS, or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.
- Interactive Tax Assistant.The Interactive Tax Assistant is a tool that provides answers to many tax questions. It can determine if a type of income is taxable and eligibility to claim certain credits or deductions. It also provides answers for general questions, such as determining filing requirement, filing status or eligibility to claim a dependent.
- Where’s My Refund? Taxpayers can use the Where’s My Refund? tool to check the status of their refund. Current year refund information is typically available online within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed tax return. A paper return status can take up to four weeks to appear after it is mailed. The Where’s My Refund? tool updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so filers only need to check once a day.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.
Get refunds fast with Direct Deposit
Taxpayers should prepare to file electronically and choose Direct Deposit for their tax refund – it’s the fastest and safest way to file and get a refund. Even when filing a paper return, choosing a direct deposit refund can save time. For those who do not have a bank account, the FDIC website offers information to help people open an account online.
Taxpayers can download Publication 5349, Tax Preparation is for Everyone, for more information to help them get ready to file.
This article was published with permission from the IRS.