Tax Season 2024 Ends Today: Our Essential Cheat Sheet for Filing Your Tax Return

April 15 is here, but this handy guide can help you finish your taxes and get your refund from the IRS.

Peter Butler Senior Editor
Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.
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Peter Butler
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We'll help you navigate your taxes by breaking down the filing process into simple steps.

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The 2024 tax season wraps up today, and the IRS has received over 101 million tax returns and refunded over $201 billion so far. If you're looking forward to a refund and you haven't finished filing yet, time is ticking -- your tax return needs to be postmarked or transmitted today, Monday, April 15. 

Completing your taxes isn't always easy, especially when you aren't a tax professional or up to date with the latest tax laws. The rules vary by year and by person, depending on your filing status, age, income and other factors. 

As you navigate the 2024 tax season, use our cheat sheet to help you find all the answers you need. The resources below provide expert advice on tricky tax topics and can help you start your return. 

Hopefully, these resources can help you file with confidence, get the biggest tax refund possible and minimize stress.

Read more: File Early and Get Up to 20% Off Your 2023 Taxes With TurboTax

How to get started with your taxes

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As with most tasks, the hardest part of doing your taxes is starting. You have to gather all your necessary forms (and track down any that are missing), pick a service or software to use and then spend hours completing your return.

No wonder almost a third of Americans wait until the last minute to file, according to a survey from financial services company IPX1031. Filing as early as possible has its advantages to consider.

Here's some info to help you jump-start your tax return:

What to know about the child tax credit in 2024

With the child tax credit tax break, you could be eligible for up to $2,000 per child. The rules around which kids qualify and how much money you could get refunded can be confusing, however. Here's what to know about this benefit.

Form, forms and more tax forms

There are a lot of tax documents: There's the W-2 your company sends you, assorted 1099 forms for other income, a 1098 form for mortgage interest and many others.

In all, the IRS provides 2,854 different tax forms on its website. Learn about the ones you need in 2024 and what to do if you're missing any.

Review your tax credits and tax deductions

Once you've started your return for tax year 2023, make sure you get every penny owed to you. One way to maximize your tax refund is to check all of the potential tax credits and deductions that could lower your tax bill.

Learn the basics of itemizing deductions (or taking the standard deduction), and review all the ways that you can pay less or get a bigger refund.

All about tax refunds

After you've finished your 2023 tax return and sent it to the IRS, the waiting begins. Fortunately, the IRS makes it easy to track your return and refund. 

Learn more about how to track your tax refund, whether it's directly deposited or mailed as a paper check, as well as other tips for getting your money quickly and securely.

What about taxes and Social Security or other government benefits

The rules around taxes and benefits can be baffling. Here are a few guides on what to know about taxes and your government benefits. 

Answers to specific tax questions in 2024

Everyone's financial situation is unique, but several common quandaries flummox even the most diligent taxpayers.

Here are a few of the more common tax questions for 2024:

How to get help on your taxes

If you can't find the tax answers you need on your own, don't despair. There are free resources that can help get your tax return finished and filed. 

Good luck with filing your return. Be sure to check back as we update this list often with more tax explainers and tips for 2024.