Key Deadlines and Changes for the 2023 Tax Season

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The IRS also provides other free assistance services, such as its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly for qualified individuals.

Important Dates for the 2023 Tax Filing Season

  • IRS Free Filing Opens for the season – Jan. 13

    Opening 10 days earlier than the regular official start of the season, the IRS free file program offers taxpayers making less than $73,000 in 2022 to file free of charge using online tax software.

  • Estimated Tax Payments for the 2022 tax year 4th quarter – Jan. 17
  • First day the IRS starts accepting and processing 2023 tax season (2022 fiscal year) individual tax returns – Jan. 23
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day – Jan. 27

    This day is designed to raise awareness of the EITC availability to low- and moderate-income workers and families who may qualify but are unaware.       

  • Due date for 2022 tax returns to be filed or extension requested, tax due to be paid – April 18

    This deadline is an additional three days beyond the typical deadline of April 15, granted due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C., and the way the weekend falls.         

    Note that refunds are expected to be issued in 21 days or less (if using the direct deposit option and filing electronically).

  • Due date for 2022 individual tax returns put on extension – Oct. 16     

Gather Your Important Documents 

Keeping these dates and deadlines in mind, make sure you organize and gather all your tax records and documents as you receive them electronically or in the mail. This will make it faster and easier to work with your tax professional.

Conclusion

Keep in mind the above dates as you organize and prepare for the 2023 tax season. Doing so will make your life much easier and less stressful when it comes to taxes.

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Giving to Charity

Some taxpayers believe that the deduction for charitable donations is no longer applicable to them since it can be hard to make donations large enough to exceed the standard deduction. One strategy to overcome this challenge is to cluster your donations. Instead of making equal gifts every year, consider making more substantial gifts all in one year instead.

When it comes to making donations around year-end, it’s important to understand the rules on timing and when a gift is effectively deemed given for tax purposes. Here are the basic rules on timing of charitable donations.

  • To give to charity by check => the date the check is mailed
  • Gifts of stock certificates => when the transfer occurs, according to the issuer’s records
  • Gifts of stocks by electronic transfer => when the stock is received, according to the issuer’s records
  • Gifts by credit card => date the charge is made

Conclusion

As we enter the final part of the year, now is the time to take stock of your financial and tax situation to see if there are any moves you can make to minimize your 2022 tax liabilities and maximize your wealth.

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The IRS is Auditing Fewer Returns than Ever

Table #3 from the GAO Report

While the IRS continues to audit higher earning taxpayers more often overall, during the 10-year period audit rates consistently declined for all levels of taxpayers, except those with the highest incomes. The audit rate for taxpayers with income between $200k and $500k experienced the largest drop, with the audit rate declining from 2.3 percent down to 0.2 percent; a 92 percent reduction in audits. Taxpayers with the highest incomes, defined as $10 million or more, saw a resurgence in audit rates from 2017-2018; however, even they experienced an overall decline, dropping from 21.2 percent in 2019 to only 3.9 percent in 2019 – equating to an 81 percent decline.

Impact on the Treasury

There is the theory that the prospect of a tax audit leads to greater voluntary compliance. In other words, if people think they won’t get audited, then they are more likely to cheat on their taxes.

Non-compliance with tax laws and regulations have a material impact on the Treasury. According to the IRS, it is estimated that on average, individual taxpayers under-reported nearly $250 billion a year for the period 2011-2013. This obviously leads to the non-collection of taxes that are otherwise owed the government and raises issues of fairness for taxpayers who are playing by the rules.

Why the Decline in Audit Rates?

One of the main drivers is a lack of resources at the IRS, a combination of both reduced funding and less auditors on staff. The number of agents working for the IRS has declined across the board since 2011. Tax examiners, the type who handle basic audits by mail, have dropped by 18 percent. Meanwhile, revenue agents, who handle the more complex cases in the field, declined by more than 40 percent over the same period.

Demographics point to an increase in these trends as there are a wave of coming retirements in the IRS. Over the next three years, nearly 14 percent of current tax examiners and 16 percent of revenue agents are expected to retire. Stack on top of this the fact that the inexperience of newer agents and the time to complete audits is also taking longer.

Conclusion

The IRS claims it is missing out on millions in legally due tax revenues due to the inability to maintain enforcement. They say they need more funding to hire more agents to perform more audits, which not only find fraud in the audits themselves but also increase overall compliance due to the pressure this creates.

Currently, there is no political focus on bringing major new resources to the IRS, so it’s not likely to see an uptick in individual tax audit rates anytime soon. The trend of focusing on the highest earners, however, will likely continue as this is where the IRS can find the most bang for its buck.

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