It might seem like you just finished doing your 2023 taxes, but guess what? The 2024 tax season is here! You may have already started pulling together everything you need—all the records of your income and other taxable events from 2023. If you haven’t, now is the perfect time to start. Either way, here’s what you need to know about doing your taxes in 2024.

Key Dates

  • January 29: Tax Season Begins
    • On January 29, 2024, the IRS will start accepting tax returns for the 2023 tax year. As long as you have your W-2 form for 2023, you can prepare your taxes and file them anytime on or after the 29th.
  • April 15: Tax Day 2024
    • Taxes are due April 15. This is also the last day you have to make 2023 contributions to IRA accounts.
  • October 15: Tax Extension Due Date 2024
    • If you choose to file an extension on your taxes, your new tax return due date will be Tuesday, October 15. You must file your extension by the April due date. Note that this extension only gives you extra time to file your return. If you owe a balance to the IRS, you must still pay that amount or an estimated payment by the April due date. If you are due a refund, you will not receive your refund until after you file your return by the extended date.

Key Forms

The most important form for individuals is IRS Form 1040. This is the “master form” where you list all your income, deductions, and credits. It sounds intimidating, but don’t fret—it is really only one sheet of paper, both sides. Every other piece of paper attached to the tax return supports an item on Form 1040.

Here are some other common tax forms you might hear about this year:

  • Form W-2
    • If you earned money as an employee in 2023, you will receive a W-2 from each employer. When you open your W-2, you will see the total amount you earned in wages, tips, and other compensation from that employer in 2023, along with all taxes withheld. These will be federal, state, and local taxes withheld, as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld. There may be other amounts or codes on the W-2 as well for special circumstances.
  • Form 1099
    • If you earned other money in 2023 that was not from an employer, it will probably be reported on a 1099. There are different varieties of 1099s for different sorts of income.
      • Interest income (from investments or bank accounts) is reported on a 1099-INT
      • Dividends get a 1099-DIV.
      • Business money received from a third-party transaction agent such as Paypal or Venmo will receive a 1099-K.
        • A note about 1099-Ks: We’ve heard a lot in recent years about 1099s being issued for lower thresholds. As of December 2023, the IRS has decided to postpone the requirement for payment processors to issue 1099-Ks for amounts over a certain dollar amount. For this tax year, the filing requirement will remain at the old level of $20,000 or 200 transactions. However, for the 2024 tax year, payment processors will be required to report any earnings over $5,000 as taxable income to the IRS. (“Friends and family” transactions were never included in the IRS’s calculations and remain nontaxable transactions.)
      • If you had rental income or received money as an independent contractor, you will get a 1099-NEC or 1099-MISC.
  • Form 1098
    • IRS Form 1098 shows the amount you paid in mortgage loan interest. This is a deductible expense if you choose to itemize your deductions. It will be issued to you from your mortgage lender.
  • Form 1095-A
    • You will receive a Form 1095-A if you were covered by Marketplace health insurance for any period during the tax year. It will show the months out of the year you were covered, what medical tax credits you used, and how much you paid in premiums. While all forms are important to file an accurate tax return, this one is especially important. If you are missing it, you will not have proof of healthcare coverage and will face steep penalties for missing health coverage for the year.
  • Form 8889
    • If you have a high-deductible health plan, you may also have an HSA account for medical spending. Contributions to, and distributions from, an HSA are nontaxable as long as they are used for qualified medical expenses.
      • These contributions and distributions—money in and money out—of the HSA are reported on Form 8889. You may get this form from your bank or other financial institution that holds your HSA account. Be sure to have receipts from any money spent to have proof that your expenses were qualified medical expenses.

Common Taxable Events

A “taxable event” is something that you did, or that happened to you, that affects your tax return. Did you deal with any of these in 2023?

  • Family Events
    • Changes in your personal life can affect your tax return.
    • Marriage qualifies you to file a joint return with your spouse. This can come with the benefit of a lower tax bracket, especially if one spouse is nonworking or has a significantly lower income.
    • If you divorced and did not remarry, you will have to switch to either a single or head of household filing status.
    • If your spouse died in 2023 or 2022, you may qualify for the Qualifying Surviving Spouse (formerly Qualifying Widow) filing status. This allows you to have the same tax benefits as married filing jointly for an additional two years after the spouse’s death.
    • The birth of a child qualifies you for an additional child tax credit. Adoption can also qualify, and also lead to tax credits—both for the added child tax credit and the adoption expenses themselves.
  • Purchase or Sale of a Primary Residence
    • If you bought a new home this year, you may choose to deduct your mortgage loan interest and property taxes paid on your federal income taxes.
    • If you sold a home this year, you will have to report any gain or loss on the sale. If it is the sale of a primary residence, you will probably be able to exclude most or all of the gain from the sale.
  • Affected by a Qualified Disaster
    • Parts of the country were affected by natural disasters in 2023. Wildfires, earthquakes, and hurricanes caused millions of dollars of casualty losses across the country.
      • Portions of these losses can be deducted on the tax returns of affected individuals. Consult a tax pro to determine if you qualify for this deduction.
  • Sale of an Asset
    • If you bought or sold an asset such as stocks, bonds, or precious metals, you must report any gain or loss on the sale of the asset. If you bought it and sold it within the same year, it is counted as a short-term capital gain and will be taxed at a much higher rate. If you have held this asset for more than a year, it will be taxed as a long-term capital gain instead.

Important Tax Changes for This Year

The most notable changes for the 2024 tax year are updates to:

  • Income tax brackets have been adjusted for inflation.
  • The standard deduction has been increased:
    • For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $14,600 for 2024 (up from $750 in 2023)
    • For heads of households, the standard deduction will be $21,900 for tax year 2024, an increase of $1,100 from tax year 2023
  • Retirement contribution limits for 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 and Thrift Savings Plans has been increased by $500, to $23,000
  • The gift tax exclusion has been increased to $18,000 (the highest amount ever. This is $1,000 more than in 2023).


  • When Will I Get My Refund?
    • If you want to check the status of your tax return after you file, you can check it on the IRS website. If you e-file your tax return, the status of your return and refund will be viewable within 36 hours. If you file a paper return, expect to wait at least 4 weeks before you can see your return status.
    • Most tax refunds will be issued to taxpayers within 3 weeks of return processing. Don’t rely on this as a guarantee if you have bills to pay, though – some refunds may take longer or be selected randomly for audit.
  • What If I Don’t File?
    • If your 2023 income was low enough that you weren’t required to file a tax return,, there are no consequences for failing to file a tax return. However, it may be a good idea to file a return anyway – it can provide you with valuable proof of income for other benefits, or qualify you for refundable tax credits.
    • If you do have an obligation to file a tax return, and don’t, you will pay a Failure to File penalty of 5% of your unpaid tax per month for up to 5 months. This will bring your total possible Failure to File penalty to 25% of your total tax due, plus interest on the unpaid balance.
  • What If I Can’t Pay My Taxes?
    • If you know that you will owe taxes, and that you won’t be able to pay them, it may be tempting to simply not file at all. Don’t do that! If you do not file at all, you will incur both a Failure to File and a Failure to Pay penalty. The Failure to File penalty will max out after 5 months, but the Failure to Pay penalty will keep going. Even if you cannot pay your taxes, you still should file the return. This will stop the Failure to File penalty. You will still incur a Failure to Pay penalty, but it is much less – only 0.5% per month, plus interest, until the tax is paid. Here’s more information about what to do if you can’t pay your taxes.
    • You can avoid some penalties, but not interest, by arranging a payment plan with the IRS to pay your tax due. This also shows good faith that you want to pay your taxes but are unable to do so, instead of committing tax evasion. The interest rate on unpaid taxes and penalties varies, and is based on the federal short-term interest rate. Here’s some additional information on what to do if you cannot pay your taxes.

Whew! That’s a lot. But hopefully this information makes you feel more prepared for the 2024 tax season. If you need help, open the Brigit app and head to the Earn & Save tab. We have exclusive partnerships with tax companies to help you do everything from file your taxes for free (Yes, free!) to working with a pro if you find yourself in a sticky situation.