Monday, January 23, is the official start of the 2023 tax filing season. For Justus Lowe, this will be his time filing taxes.
"This is my first year not being a dependent. The first year doing my taxes on my own," he said.
So he decided to get help from Liberty Tax. Probably a smart move. Office Owner Gina Pinto says some tax changes are confusing for some people.
"This year the IRS made a lot of changes due to the end of the pandemic benefits," she said.
She says the changes are already leaving some of her clients with smaller refunds.
"The child tax credit went back to $2,000. Last year it was $3,600," Pinto said.
With the IRS facing staffing shortages for the third year in a row, in addition to continued problems and delays at the postal service, tax preparers say it's more important than ever this year to have your paperwork ready to go as soon as possible.
Mark Steber of Jackson Hewitt says there are three valuable lessons learned from the past three years. The first is to avoid filing paper tax returns because those tend to lead to delays.
"That was slow even before the pandemic and it's certainly not gotten any faster with the IRS having staffing challenges," he said.
Second, file your tax return electronically. His third tip, use direct deposit for your refund.
"Gets there faster, gets there safer," he said.
Mark also suggests organizing tax documents into four folders.
"I like my income items, paper clipped together. I like deductions and credit information things that you spend on your business," he said
The third folder is information related to life changes like a marriage or a new child. The last folder is for other miscellaneous items.
"Ask your pro, could be a tax break," Mark says.
All of this helps whether you are filing for yourself or at a preparer's office.
One last tip, filing doesn't mean paying. You're allowed to file taxes now, but you can wait to pay until April.