Ghost tax preparers, global tax schemes, and wealthy filers wrap up the 2024 IRS Dirty Dozen
Can't finish your taxes? File for an extension instead

Tax filing tips for the last weekend before Tax Day


Tax Day 2024 is Monday, April 15. Have you filed your 1040 yet?

By the end of March, the Internal Revenue Service had received more than 90 million tax returns. Sounds like a lot, right? But that's just 70 percent of the almost 129 million returns the tax agency is expecting to get this tax season.

So a lot of taxpayers (or their tax preparers) are busy this weekend.

Of course, not all those 39 million yet-to-be-filed returns will be finished by April 15. A good portion will be extended, giving the taxpayers (and their tax preparers) until Oct. 15 to finish and file their returns.

Filing Form 4868 to get a six-month extension is a smart move. It's always better to have the time to properly complete your return.

Just remember that the extension is to file those federal tax forms, but any tax you owe is still due by April 15. If you don't pay it when you file for an extension, penalties and interest will start accruing on April 16.

If, however, you're committed to finishing your return by Tax Day, here are 15 tips that can help make sure that this last weekend before the 2024 tax deadline is not a lost weekend.

Statements you need to file your tax return — The focus of every tax filing season is Form 1040. But to fill out that form completely and accurately, you need other documents. Here's a look at the myriad tax statements with specifics on last year's income and possibly deductible expenses that you should receive, in most cases, by Jan. 31. 

Tax pre-filing checklist questions — You've got all your tax statements, but don't file just yet. Review this checklist of some basic tax questions. Your answers could help you submit a 1040 that's as complete and correct as possible. They also could mean you don't overlook any tax breaks.

Digital assets question now on more tax return forms — The Internal Revenue Service is offering some guidance on how to answer the digital assets question. The query now applies to even more filers, as this 2024 tax season it appears on four additional tax return forms. (Jan. 22, 2024)

Tips for tax-filing first-timers — Filing your first ever tax return this year? Welcome to the taxpaying club. These 8 tips could help make your tax filing initiation a bit easier.

6 tax credits for lower- to middle-income taxpayers — If your pay isn't as much as you want or deserve, the tax code might be able to help. These six tax credits could provide some financial assistance at tax filing time to lower- and middle-income individuals workers.

Don't fall for Form 1099-K myths this tax filing season — If you made money last year selling a product or service and got your payment via an app or online marketplace, you might have received a Form 1099-K. Or not. There's still a lot of confusion about this process and your tax responsibilities. Here are some 1099-K myths the IRS is looking to debunk.

There's still time to contribute to tax-saving retirement plans — Workers have done a great job of contributing to workplace retirement plans and IRAs, with the tax-advantaged accounts hitting new highs in the last quarter of 2023. But don't stop now. There's still time — until your Tax Day 2024 deadline — to add 2023 tax year dollars to your account. 

Maximizing your itemized tax deductions — Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction when they file their tax returns. In some cases, though, itemizing tax-deductible expenses adds up to more than the standard deduction, creating more tax savings for the filer. If itemizing works for your, here's how to maximize the expenses you can claim on Schedule A.

24 tax deductions that don't require itemizing — You don't have to itemize to get tax deductions. There are two dozen possibilities found on Form 1040's Schedule 1. Officially known as adjustments to income, these still nicknamed above-the-line deductions can help all filers, whether you take the standard deduction or itemize on Schedule A.

Don't make these 10 common tax mistakes — To err is human. To err when doing your taxes also is all too common, especially when you're rushing to meet the Tax Day filing (and paying) deadline. Here are 10 tax errors to watch out for and avoid.

10 often overlooked tax breaks — Are you still searching for tax write-offs as Tax Day April 15 nears? Here are 10 tax deductions and credits, including some that don't require itemizing, that too many taxpayers overlook every filing season. That oversight costs them valuable tax savings. Don't be one of them. Check out these often ignored tax breaks and claim all for you qualify.

Don't wave these audit red flags — The chances of getting audited remain relatively low. That's why you don't want to invite Internal Revenue Service interest in your tax filing by taking tax actions, like waving these 10 tax return red flags, that are sure to catch an IRS examiner's eye. 

Finally, these three focus on ways to file your 1040.

Free File 2024 is open, with 8 companies offering no-cost tax return prep and e-filing — If your 2023 adjusted gross income, regardless of your filing status, is $79,000 or less, you should be able to find a tax software that fits your needs. This year, eight tax software companies are participating.

IRS Direct File pilot opens to new eligible filers — This week the Internal Revenue Service announced that it has opened its no cost, direct-to-the-IRS tax prep and e-filing program to more taxpayers. New eligible taxpayers in the 12 states where the pilot is being conducted now can use the program to file their 2023 returns.

VITA & TCE volunteers offer free face-to-face tax prep and e-filing — If you want more than tax software, but can't afford to hire a tax professional, check out Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). IRS-trained volunteers at these sites nationwide can help eligible taxpayers prepare and e-file their returns for free. 

Tips shout outs: These 15 last-minute filing tips are, as regular readers already have realized, from the ol' blog's monthly tax tip collections. And since it's Saturday, this weekend's Saturday Shout Out is a shameless plug for the ol' blog's tax tip pages.

The pages started at the beginning of the year, so some basic filing advice to going on your 2023 tax year Form 1040 is on the January page. At the end of that month's list of 25 tips, you'll find links to the subsequent monthly tax tip pages.

Actually, all the monthly links are on every tips page, so you can bounce between January, February, March, and April as you want.

Get more tax (and free) time: Or, if looking at just these 15 tips to help you finish up your filing this weekend is too much, here's a repeat of the opening piece of weekend tax advice. File Form 4868 to get the six-month extension. It's a short, easy form that you can file (and pay any tax) electronically.

Doing so will free up this weekend to do what you want, like enjoy a movie. Perhaps Weekend at Bernie's is the comedy you need to counter your tax anxiety. Adventure fans can view Sam Peckinpah's Cold War spy thriller The Osterman Weekend. Or if you're into music, there's Saturday Night Fever.

Personally, I'm a film noir fan, so I'm going with Lost Weekend, the 1945 Ray Milland classic that prompted this post's filing angle.

And while I hope taxes don't ever drive anyone to drink like Milland's character Don Birnam in that Oscar-winning movie, I can't begrudge anyone an adult beverage or two, especially when they're toasts to celebrate finishing your taxes. Or your extension.



🌟 Search Amazon Business and Money Books 🌟
The text link above is an affiliate ad. If you click through and then buy a product, I receive a commission.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)