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Get Em" Done Tax Preparations provides unparalleled personalized tax prep services, including all federal & state personal and business tax returns to a broad range of clients across the Las Vegas valley, as well as many USA states. 
We are here to ensure that all of your financial decisions are made carefully and with your best interests in mind. We are ready and able to serve as your tax advisor, tax planner, and guide along your path to success.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you well.

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All You Need to Know

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updated Jan 09, 2024

1. When Is My Tax Return Due?

Your 2023 tax return (the one you file in 2024) is due Monday, April 15, 2024. 

You can get an automatic six-month extension by filing Form 4868 by mail, online, or by making an estimated tax payment using IRS Direct Pay.

2. Do I Need to File a Tax Return?

If your income is below a certain threshold, you might not need to file a tax return at all. The amount of income you can earn without needing to file a return depends on the type of income you have, your age, and your filing status.

 For 2023 returns, the standard deduction is:

  • $13,850 for single filers and married couples filing separately.

  • $27,700 for married filing jointly

  • $13,850 for married filing separately 

  • $20,800 for head of household filers

However, there are a few exceptions to that rule. For example, if someone else claims you as a dependent on their return, you have to file a return if your unearned income (such as interest, dividends, and capital gains) is greater than $1,100.

You also need to file a tax return if you:

  • Owe Social Security and Medicare tax on tips you didn’t report to your employer.

  • Took a distribution from a health savings account (HSA)

  • Had net earnings from self-employment of at least $400

You can find a more in-depth explanation of the tax filing requirements in the Internal Revenue Service’s Instructions for Form 1040, or use the IRS’s interactive Do I Need to File a Tax Return? tool if you need more help figuring out whether you need to file.

 3. Should I Do My Own Taxes or Hire a Professional?

That depends on how complicated your tax situation is and whether you have the time and patience to handle the research and data entry on your own.

You might feel comfortable filing on your own if you just need to enter information from your W-2 and claim the standard deduction and some other common tax benefits like the student loan interest deduction and Child Tax Credit. But if your tax situation is more complicated — for example, you’re self-employed, you own rental property, or a foreign bank account — then you may want advice from a tax professional.

4. What Filing Status Should I Choose?

There are five filing statuses to choose from. The right one for you depends on your marital status and family situation. 

  • Single. Choose this status if you’re unmarried and don’t qualify for another filing status.

  • Married Filing Jointly. Choose this filing status if you’re married and want to file a joint return with your spouse.

  • Married Filing Separately. Choose this filing status if you don’t want to file jointly with your spouse. While there are several reasons you might not want to file jointly, people often use this status when one spouse owes back taxes or has other financial issues.

  • Head of Household. Use this filing status if you’re unmarried and pay at least half the cost of maintaining a home for a dependent.

  • Qualifying Widow(er). Use this status if your spouse passed away recently and you’re supporting a child at home.

You can also use the IRS’s interactive What Is My Filing Status tool to help you choose the filing status that will result in the lowest tax bill.

 5. Which Tax Credits Am I Eligible For?

That depends on your tax situation. Some common tax credits include:

  • Child Tax Credit (CTC). For 2023, the CTC is worth up to $2,000.00 per child under age 17. 

  • Earned Income Tax Credit. This credit gives low- to moderate-income people a refundable credit. The size of your credit depends on your income and how many children you claim as dependents.

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). These tax credits for education credit help offset the cost of higher education if you qualify.

  • Adoption Tax Credit. This tax credit helps offset the cost of qualified adoption expenses.

  • Child & Dependent Care Credit. This tax break helps working parents cover the cost of childcare for a dependent or care for another family member who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves

6. Which Tax Deductions Can I Claim?

Roughly 90% of taxpayers claim the standard deduction, which is a flat dollar amount based on your filing status.

Instead of taking the standard deduction, you can itemize. Itemizing involves keeping track of the actual amounts you pay for certain expenses throughout the tax year and reporting them on Schedule A attached to your Form 1040. Itemized deductions include:

There are also a handful of “above-the-line deductions” that you can claim even if you don’t itemize. These include contributions to a health savings account (HSA) or IRA, self-employed health insurance premiums, and more.

7. What Happens If I Don’t File My Taxes on Time?

If you miss the tax filing deadline, just file your tax return as soon as possible. If the IRS owes you a refund, you won’t have to pay a late filing penalty. However, you can’t get your refund until you file.

If you owe tax, the IRS will charge a late filing penalty, late payment penalty, and interest on the outstanding tax due. 

You can avoid penalties by requesting a six-month extension of time to file your return. Keep in mind that this gives you more time to file — it doesn’t give you more time to pay the tax you owe. So, you should estimate your tax liability and pay it with your extension request.

8. What Happens If I Can’t Pay My Taxes?

The IRS is used to working with people who need more time to pay their taxes in full. That’s why it offers payment plans.

If you can pay the balance due within 120 days, apply for a short-term payment plan online or call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

If you need more time to pay taxes, you can request an installment agreement. You can apply for the plan online if you owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, interest, and penalties. If you owe more than that, you need to apply for an installment plan using Form 9465 and Form 433-F.

9.  When Will I Get My Tax Refund?

It’s tough to say. Normally, the IRS issues most refunds within 21 days. Your best bet for quick processing is to file your taxes electronically and have your tax refund direct-deposited into your bank account. 

However, some refunds take longer, and the IRS has warned taxpayers that 2022 will be an especially challenging year for timely refunds. The IRS is still working through a backlog of returns from 2021 and dealing with ongoing staffing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expect the IRS to take more time to process your refund if your tax return includes the Recovery Rebate Credit, EITC, or Additional Child Tax Credit.

If it’s been more than 21 days since you e-filed your return and you haven’t received your refund, you can check the status using the IRS2Go app, the Where’s My Refund tool, or the IRS’s Check My Refund Status page.

10. How Do I Avoid an Audit?

There’s no foolproof way to avoid an IRS audit. The IRS might select your return for an audit randomly or because you have certain audit red flags on your return, such as high deductions compared to your income.

11.  How Long Should I Keep Tax Records?

The IRS recommends keeping your tax records for three years from the date you filed your tax return. That’s because the agency generally has three years from the date you filed to audit you.

However, that statute of limitations can be longer if you:

  • Claimed a loss from a worthless security or bad debt

  • Didn’t report income that you should have reported

If either of those situations applies, you should hold onto your tax records for seven years from the date you filed.

12.  Mortgage Interest – You can still deduct the interest on $750,000 worth of mortgage debt ($375,000 if married filing separately) for loans taken out after December 15, 2017. Deductions on older mortgages are capped at $1 million of debt. However, mortgage insurance is no longer deductible.

13.  Home Equity Loan Interest – Home equity loan interest is now only deductible for funds used for home building or improvements that meet specific criteria. Total mortgage debt, including any home equity loan, must still fall below the $750,000 criteria listed above.

14. Medical/Dental Expenses – The amount of qualifying medical and dental expenses that may be deducted is limited to that which exceeds 10% of your AGI.

15. Property Taxes – State and local property taxes, including income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes, are still deductible – but they've been limited (see below).

16. State and Local Taxes – State and local income and sales tax deductions, along with property taxes, have been limited to a collective $10,000 by the TCJA ($5,000 if you are married and filing separately).

17.  Retirement Plan Contributions – Retirement plan contributions to tax-deferred accounts such as IRAs may be deductible. Roth IRAs are not deductible since they're funded with post-tax dollars.

18. Self-Employment Taxes – You can deduct 50% of your self-employment taxes (effectively, the amount you pay as employer instead of an employee).

19. Health Savings Account (HSA) Contributions – Contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible up to $3,500 for individuals (employer plus employee) and $7,000 for families.

20. Home Office Deduction – You can deduct certain home office expenses – but only if you're self-employed. Employees who work from home aren’t.

21. Unreimbursed Employee Expenses If you are a reservist in the Armed Forces, a fee-based local or state government official, or a qualified performing artist, you can deduct unreimbursed employee expenses paid or incurred during 2019 that are necessary and ordinary for continuing your trade or business. See Publication 463 for more information.

22. Expenses for Educators – Eligible teachers can deduct up to $300 spent out-of-pocket on classroom supplies and professional development courses.

23. Gambling Losses – Bad day at the casino? You can deduct gambling losses, but only up to the amount of your winnings.

24. Income from Pass-Through Businesses – The TCJA created a 20% deduction for pass-through business income from certain qualified businesses. Prior to TCJA, pass-through income was taxed at the standard rate.

25. Dividends and Partner Income – Taxpayers may also deduct 20% of qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and qualified income from publicly traded partnerships.

26. Moving Expenses – They're still deductible for certain active-duty members of the military – but for the rest of us, the moving expense deduction has moved on until 2026.

27. Casualty and Theft Losses – As long as casualty and theft losses are due to a federally declared disaster, they're considered tax-deductible.

Don't assume that the standard deduction works for you. Check all available deductions to see if itemizing pays off.

The two common forms that taxpayers need to do their taxes are a W-2 form that comes from employers and a 1099-INT form that comes from the bank. Other important information you want to have with you everyone’s social security numbers and receipts if you have made charitable contributions throughout the year.

  • Keep records for 3 years if situations (4), (5), and (6) below do not apply to you.

  • Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a ...

  • Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.

If you're a self-employed nonresident alien living in the United States, you must pay SE tax if an international social security agreement in effect determines that you're covered under the U.S. social security system. If you have questions about international social security agreements, or to see if any additional agreements have been entered into, you can visit the Social Security Administration's (SSA) International Programs website. If your self-employment income is subject to SE tax, complete Schedule SE and file it with your Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return.

Accountants and taxes
Accounting professionals typically have substantial education and background in accounting. In order to become a certified public accountant, a professional must take an exam that includes a wide range of accounting skills. These include performing audits; preparing financial statements for businesses, government entities, and nonprofits; understanding corporate governance structures; and dealing with various types of business regulation, including not only taxes but also licensure and other requirements.

As a result, those CPAs that choose to specialize in tax tend to have a greater background on certain tax issues than the typical tax professional. However, many CPAs specialize in areas other than taxation, and those accountants might therefore not be as capable in handling your tax issues as someone who is not a CPA but does focus on taxes.

Tax preparers
Tax preparers concentrate on tax matters but don't necessarily have the same broad educational background that an accountant has. The quality of tax preparers can vary widely, making it useful to consider different categories of preparers.

Enrolled agents are eligible to represent taxpayers before the IRS. To become an EA, you have to pass a three-part IRS test covering individual and business tax returns or you have to have experience as an IRS employee.

The IRS also recognizes what it calls Annual Filing Season Program Participants. These individuals typically aren't attorneys, accountants, or enrolled agents, but they have taken a certain number of continuing education hours to prepare for the tax year.

Finally, many tax preparers have no special credentials whatsoever. That doesn't mean that they aren't competent to help you with your taxes, but it does mean that you have to be careful in evaluating their performance.

You'll also want to take steps to protect yourself if you begin to suspect that the tax prepare you've chosen is disreputable. In particular, the IRS warns that those who base fees on a percentage of clients' refunds should be avoided, and checking with the Better Business Bureau is a smart move.

Which tax professional is right for you and your situation depends on your particular needs and comfort level with your taxes. For simple returns, a regular tax preparer might be sufficient, but those with more complex needs should consider more experienced professionals.

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