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The 2023 individual income tax return filing season will open soon. Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April 15 deadline (or you file for an extension), consider filing earlier this year. Why? You may be able to protect yourself from tax identity theft.
In a tax identity theft scheme, a thief uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return early in the filing season and claim a bogus refund. Then when you file your return, you’ll hear from the IRS that the return is being rejected because someone has already filed a return with the same Social Security number.
While you should ultimately be able to prove that your return is the legitimate one, tax identity theft can be difficult to straighten out and can significantly delay a refund. Filing early may be your best defense: If you file first, it will be the tax return filed by a potential thief that will be rejected, not yours.
If you have questions or would like an appointment to prepare your return and ensure you take advantage of all of the breaks available to you, please contact the office.
Your filing status options for your 2023 income tax return depend on your marital status on Dec. 31. The married-filing-jointly status is typically the most beneficial way for married taxpayers to file, but it’s a good idea to take a “what-if” look at the married filing separately status.
For example, if one spouse has high medical expenses and a relatively lower adjusted gross income (AGI), filing separately may allow that spouse to exceed the 7.5% of AGI floor for the medical expense deduction and deduct some medical expenses that wouldn’t be deductible if the couple filed jointly.
What about your income tax rate? Fortunately, through 2025 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the tax-bracket marriage penalty for all but the top bracket. But middle-bracket newlyweds may be at greater risk of becoming subject to the 0.9% additional Medicare tax and the 3.8% net investment income tax than they were as singles. Why? The thresholds for these taxes for married taxpayers aren’t that much higher than for singles ($250,000 vs. $200,000, respectively).
For instance, two singles who each have an income of $150,000 wouldn’t be subject to these taxes. But if they marry, their combined $300,000 income would likely cause them to become subject to one or both taxes (depending on the mix of earned vs. investment income). Filing separately wouldn’t help because the threshold is $125,000 for separate filers.
Did your name change? The name on a person’s tax return must match what is on file at the Social Security Administration. If it doesn’t, it could delay any tax refund. So be sure to report your name change to the Social Security Administration before you file your return.
The IRS has issued the 2024 optional cents-per-mile rates used to calculate the tax-deductible costs of operating a vehicle:
- Effective Jan. 1, 2024, the standard mileage rate for the business use of a car (including vans, pickups, and panel trucks) is 67 cents per mile. (This is up from 65.5 cents per mile for 2023.)
- The 2024 rate for medical or eligible moving purposes is 21 cents per mile. (For 2023, the rate was 22 cents per mile.)
- For charitable driving, the 2024 rate is 14 cents per mile (unchanged from 2023).
Note that these rates apply to electric and hybrid-electric automobiles as well as gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Contact the office for more information.