5 actions to take before April’s filing deadline


Minimize stress during the tax filing season with this checklist.

The 2023 tax season is here. As you prepare to file your individual income tax returns ahead of the April 15, 2024, federal deadline1, we are available to partner with your tax professional to help make the filing process smoother.

Here are 5 actions to consider:

1. Take inventory of all your tax-related documents

When it comes to tax preparation, much of the work is locating the records you’ll need to reference when you file. To help the filing process go more smoothly, consider organizing these papers in advance, even as you receive them, preferably in a central location.

The IRS generally requires many tax documents, such as W-2 forms and 1099 forms, to be delivered to taxpayers by Jan. 31 (or Feb. 15 for securities accounts) via mail or electronic means. If you’re itemizing deductions, you’ll also want to track down your personal receipts for deductible expenses ahead of time, such as charitable contributions.

Advice spotlight

Wait until you have all your 2023 tax documents to file your 2023 returns.

More complex investments may be subject to reclassification and amended tax information, or require Schedules K-1, which often arrive later than Forms 1099. As such, it may make sense to prepare a draft of your taxes, but wait to finalize and file them until later in the season.

2. Consider whether an extension makes sense for your situation

If you’re expecting amended tax documents or foresee a situation where you won’t be able to meet the April 15 deadline, consider requesting an extension for your 2023 taxes. Depending on your situation, it may be better to obtain an extension and file the original return by the extended deadline, rather than file an amended tax return with the IRS at a later date. The request for extension does not delay your requirement to pay your tax obligation. All remaining 2023 taxes due are required to be paid at the time of filing the extension.

For 2023 individual tax returns, the extended due date is Oct. 15, 2024. Contact your tax professional to help you make this decision.

3. Reduce your taxable income for 2023 with an HSA contribution

If you’re in a high-deductible health plan, you might qualify for a health savings account (HSA). Your contributions are pre-tax, which reduces your taxable income, and may never be taxed if used for qualified medical expenses. The HSA contribution deadline for the 2023 tax year is April 15, 2024.

2023 HSA contribution limits

Individual

$3,850

Family

$7,750

55+ catch-up contribution

$1,000

4. Meet your IRA contribution limit for the year

IRA contributions made between Jan. 1 and Apr. 15, 2024, can be designated for either 2023 or 2024. If you haven’t met your contribution limit for 2023, consider contributing to your traditional or Roth IRA by the April deadline. (You can do so in a lump sum if you’d like). The maximum total annual contribution for traditional and Roth IRAs for 2023 is $6,500, or $7,500 if you are 50 or older.

  • Traditional IRA: Your contributions during this four-month window may be eligible to be deducted from your 2023 taxes, depending on your income level and whether you (or your spouse) are covered by a retirement plan at work.
  • Roth IRA: Your contributions won't be tax deductible on your 2023 tax bill but designating them as a 2023 contribution allows you the flexibility to make additional contributions in 2024 provided you are still eligible. Roth IRA contributions are subject to income limits.

5. Think ahead to next tax season

It may seem early to start strategizing for 2024 taxes. But the sooner you start, the more flexibility you’ll have to pursue tax strategies that could benefit you.

As you prepare your 2023 taxes, here are a few considerations to keep in mind for 2024:

  • Withholding status: Is your employer withholding too much, or too little, tax from your paycheck? If so, consider altering your withholding amounts for 2024. The earlier, the better.
  • Itemize or take the standard deduction for 2024? If 2024 is shaping up to be a year where itemizing could work, consider how you can take early steps to maximize the tax benefit. For example, you could increase your charitable giving – just make sure to save all receipts for donations if you decide to itemize.
  • Tax credits: Are there any new credits you can qualify for in 2024? For example, the Inflation Reduction Act offers tax credits for taxpayers who purchase an electric vehicle or make certain energy improvements to their homes. Work with a tax professional to determine if your planned purchases or improvements might qualify based on your specific circumstances.

We’re here to help with your year-round tax planning strategies

Smart tax strategies can help you keep more of your money and increase how much you save for financial goals. We will work with you and your tax professional throughout the year to identify tax-saving opportunities that may benefit you.