It’s time for taxes. Here’s what you need to know

Feb 22, 2024

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Tax season is officially here. Whether you’re actively preparing or putting it off a little longer, there are a few tax changes to be aware of this year before you start filing.

In this Radio Boston segmentAncel Tejada, program manager of the Financial Empowerment Initiative at MASSCAPa statewide association that provides free tax preparation, shares insights on the most common mistakes to avoid when filing, details on what Gov. Maura Healey’s recent tax cuts could mean for you this season and information on some of the biggest changes to federal taxes this year. Read through some of the interview highlights below.

On the biggest mistakes people make while filing their taxes…

“Missing a document… It’s the number one mistake that I see out there. Preparation is key when it comes to [filing taxes]. Make sure that you have all your documents. Anything that says tax related, you want to put it all together. And remember, if you’re going to a tax professional, [the] more documents, [the better.] We’re never gonna say we have too many documents.

“[Another is] not changing your withholding throughout the year. [If] you had a second job or maybe you [took] on DoorDashing or something along those lines, that could cause you [to] give some money back to the IRS.

On an often forgotten credit that could really help you out…

“One of the most common tax credits out there is an earned income tax credit. And the reason I mention [it] is because 21% of people still miss that credit because they simply did not know about it or they didn’t know that they qualify.”

On what Gov. Healey’s tax cuts may mean for those with dependents…

“[The child and family tax credit] is one we’re very excited [about] because it affects most of our clientele for filing season. Roughly 565,000 families are going to be impacted by the child and family tax credit.

“The child and family tax credit is actually a combination of two previous credits, [and it’s] meant for any family or individual that has a dependent. Massachusetts defines a dependent as any child under the age of 13, any adult over the age of 65 or someone living in your care with a disability. Those impacted [will see] $310 back into their pockets for each dependent [they] have. [There is] no cap on those, so you can have as many dependents that fall within those categories. Next year, [the refund] will increase to $440.

“There is no income testing when it comes to that credit. So, if you have a dependent, it is highly, highly encouraged for you to go ahead and file your taxes [that way.] It’s definitely going to be money back in your pocket.”

On what the tax cuts may mean for renters and seniors…

“Renters get a little bit of an extra boost this year. The tax exemption for rent went from $3,000 to $4,000. And the Senior Circuit Breaker [tax credit], which is one of the biggest credits out there for seniors [that rent] or own their home and pay bills, actually doubled — it went from about $1,200 to $2,400.”

On some of the biggest changes to federal taxes this year… 

“Tax brackets did get expanded a little bit — roughly 7% — on each individual tier. [One] big rule change got pushed back — what I call the 1099-Ks, which [records] the exchanges of monies between apps. CashApp, things like that. We were supposed to be receiving a 1099 for those this year for any transactions or any combination of transactions $600 and over. [But] that got pushed back until next year. The IRS is taking this as a revision year and they’re keeping the old rules there.”

This segment aired on February 6, 2024.