From Confusion to Clarity: How OBS Simplifies Tax Breaks

As you prepare to file your taxes, we are here to guide you through the process and help you make the most of every opportunity to save. Our experts provide an extensive overview of the latest tax breaks, ensuring you know how to maximize your refunds. From deductions to credits, we break down complex tax concepts into simple, understandable terms, empowering you to navigate your tax filing journey confidently and leading you to financial success this tax season.

Table Of Contents  

  • Steps involved
  • Different ways to file taxes
  • Recent tax law changes
  • When are taxes due in 2024?
  • Tax deadlines & Important dates
  • What happens if you file taxes late?
  • Tax evasion vs Tax avoidance
  • Common tax problems

Steps Involved

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps involved in filing your tax return.

  1. Gather Your Documents: Before you begin the tax filing process, gather all the necessary documents and information. These may include:
  • Income Statements: W-2 forms for employees, 1099 forms for independent contractors, interest statements from banks, and investment income statements.
  • Expense Records: Receipts for deductible expenses, such as medical expenses, charitable contributions, and business expenses.
  • Tax Forms: Depending on your circumstances, you may need additional tax forms, such as Schedule C for self-employment income or Schedule K-1 for partnership income.
  1. Choose Your Filing Method: You have several options for filing your tax return:

· E-file: Filing your taxes electronically is fast, convenient, and secure. You can use tax preparation software or online services from the IRS or authorized e-file providers.

· Paper Filing: If you prefer to file a paper return, you can download the necessary forms from the IRS website or request them by mail. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and include all required documents.

Different Ways to File Your Taxes

E-file (Electronic Filing): Electronic filing, or e-filing, is one of the most popular and convenient ways to file your taxes. Here’s how it works:

  • Tax Preparation Software: Use TurboTax, H&R Block, or TaxAct to prepare and file your tax return electronically. These software programs guide you through the process, help you maximize deductions, and perform error checks.
  • IRS Website: You can also file your taxes directly through the IRS website using their online forms.

Paper filing: While less common than electronic filing, paper filing is still an option for those who prefer a more traditional approach. Here’s how it works: 

  • Download Forms: Download the necessary tax forms and instructions from the IRS website or request them by mail.
  • Complete Forms: Fill out the forms manually, following the instructions provided. Be sure to include all required documentation and signatures.
  • Mail Forms: Once completed, mail the forms to the appropriate IRS processing center. Keep in mind that paper filing may take longer to process than electronic filing.

Recent Tax Changes

RMD updates for 2024

A Required Minimum Distribution is an amount of money you must take out from an employer-sponsored retirement account or IRA once you reach retirement age. RMDs are in place to protect retirement-age taxpayers from paying taxes on their contributions since traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts use pre-tax dollars.  

When Are Taxes Due in 2024?

This year, the last day to file federal tax returns is April 15, 2024. Tax Day typically falls on April 15th. However, if this date falls on a weekend or federal/state-sanctioned holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

If you choose to file an extension on Tax Day, then you have six additional months to file your federal tax return and make payments. In this case, the extended filing deadline is October 15, 2024.  

If you’re a business owner or are self-employed, then you must make quarterly estimated payments toward your tax bill throughout the year. The deadline for quarterly estimated payments is typically the third Monday of the first month after the last quarter’s end. If the due date falls on a federal holiday, quarterly payments are due the next business day. So, for example, if you owe quarterly estimated payments for Q2 of 2024 (April 1-May 31), these payments would be due on September 16, 2024.  

Tax Deadlines & Important Dates

Last date to file taxes 

The last day to file tax returns is on Tax Day – April 15, 2024. If you need more time to file your returns, you can file an extension using Form 4868. The IRS usually announces the key dates at the start of each calendar year. Keep tabs on their site to get in the know about upcoming dates

Tax extension deadline 

If you need more time to file your 2023 tax return, you must file an extension by April 15, 2024. Remember, a tax extension gives you more time to submit your return, not to pay your taxes. Filing an extension gives you an additional six months to submit your return to the IRS. This year, the late filing deadline will be October 15, 2024. The IRS may change this due date in the event of an extenuating circumstance, like a natural disaster.     

When are Quarterly Estimated Payments Due?

The last quarterly estimate deadline for work completed during Q4 of 2023 is January 16, 2024. Is Q4 your first time reporting an estimate?

Quarterly Payment   Payment Period   Due Date  
Q4 of 2023 September 1 – December 31   January 16, 2024  
Q1 of 2024   January 1 – March 31   April 15, 2024
Q2 of 2024   April 1 – May 31   June 17, 2024  
Q3 of 2024   June 1 – August 31   September 16, 2024  
Q4 of 2024   September 1 – December 31   January 15, 2025  


What Happens if You File Taxes Late? 

There is usually no failure-to-file penalty if your late tax return results in a refund. But if you have a filing obligation, you should still plan to file as soon as possible to recoup your funds.

Keep in mind that you typically have just three years to claim any tax refunds due to you. This means that if you didn’t file in 2020 but think you were due a refund, you only had until May 17, 2024, to file a tax return for that year and claim your refund. The IRS estimated that over $1 billion worth of funds were due back to nonfliers from 2020.

How To Avoid a Penalty For Filing Taxes Late

A tax extension can get you an extra six months to finish your tax return, but the deadline to request an extension was April 15.

If you did get an extension, remember that it only gives you more time to file your tax return. It does not give you more time to pay your taxes. You are still required to submit an estimated tax payment by April 15. Otherwise, anything you owe past the tax deadline might be subject to that late-payment penalty and interest.

Tax Evasion vs Tax Avoidance  

Tax avoidance and tax evasion are two very different things, with different definitions and different consequences.

Tax evasion is a form of tax fraud that involves the use of illegal methods to conceal income or information from the IRS or other tax authorities to avoid the assessment or payment of taxes.

Tax avoidance, on the other hand, is the use of legal methods to reduce taxable income or tax owed. Claiming allowed tax deductions and tax credits are common tactics, as is investing in tax-advantaged accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s.

Consequences of Tax Evasion

An innocent mistake on your tax return doesn’t automatically turn you into a tax evader; intent is a factor. If you did intend to evade taxes, here’s a taste of the penalties you could face, according to the IRS:

  • A felony on your record.
  • Five years in jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $250,000 ($500,000 for corporations)
  • A bill for the cost of prosecuting you.

Common Tax Problems

Underpaying estimated taxes

Business owners should generally make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe a tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed. If they don’t pay enough tax through withholding and estimated tax payments, they may be charged a penalty.

Depositing employment taxes

Business owners with employees are expected to deposit taxes they withhold, plus the employer’s share of those taxes, through electronic fund transfers. If those taxes are not deposited correctly and on time, the business owner may be charged a penalty.

Filing late

Just like individual returns, business tax returns must be filed in a timely manner. To avoid late filing penalties, taxpayers should be aware of all tax requirements for their type of business and the filing deadlines.

Not separating business and personal expenses

It can be tempting to use one credit card for all expenses especially if the business is a sole proprietorship. Doing so can make it very hard to tell legitimate business expenses from personal ones. This could cause errors when claiming deductions and become a problem if the taxpayer or their business is ever audited.


In conclusion, taxes are essential financial contributions that fund vital public services and infrastructure in your community. Understanding your tax obligations is crucial for responsible citizenship.

This guide has covered the basics of filing taxes, including the steps involved in filing your taxes, and the different types of documents required for tax filing, which can vary depending on your business structure and income sources. By understanding these concepts and keeping organized records throughout the year, you can ensure a smooth and timely tax filing process.

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