Matter & Substance
  January 24, 2024

Tips to Prepare for the 2023 Tax Season

As you begin to compile your information for the 2023 tax filing season, consider some of the following steps you can take to ensure your tax return and refund don’t face delays.

Organize your tax docs early

Getting your information together early will allow you to begin your return process as soon as possible. Employers are required to send W-2s by the last day of January each year, but unfortunately, not all employers and institutions are always prepared and on time.

Check in with HR and all your online accounts to make sure your address is updated and look for any documents that can be received electronically instead of by mail.

M&S will provide an annual tax organizer to help gather the appropriate 2023 tax information. When gathering your paperwork, here are some common documents to include:

  • W-2s from employers
  • Form 1099-G from the state unemployment department if you were unemployed at any point in 2023
  • 1099s from anyone who paid you miscellaneous, contract, or other relevant funds
  • Documents showing medical, educational, childcare, or other expenses, especially if you’re itemizing
  • Statements regarding investments or mortgage interest payments
  • Receipts to document deductible expenses

The earlier we receive your information, the sooner we can complete your return. Although we realize there may be some required information out of your control, (such as K-1’s or other statements) please send us all your other information. The earlier the information is received in whole, the more likely we are able to complete it in a timely manner.

If your documents are submitted to us before February 28, we average a 10-day turnaround. If it's between March 1 and March 15, it may take up to a month (with an expected completion by April 15. Unfortunately, if we do not receive your information until after March 15, we cannot guarantee the return will be completed and will likely have to request an extension.

Keep track of any changes to your situation

When organizing and submitting your documents to us, please keep in mind if you have had any changes in the past year that may affect your filing. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • Moving
  • Changing jobs or becoming self-employed
  • Establishing new entities
  • Bankruptcy or other taxable debt forgiveness
  • Large gifts or establishing estate planning tools (certain trusts or other transfer vehicles)
  • Fully utilizing any carryforwards (this may result in owing taxes or requiring estimated tax payments going forward)
  • Acquiring/selling real property or large purchases in states with transfer taxes

Be sure to note these or any other changes when you reach out to your tax partner.

Save letters and notices from the IRS

Every year the IRS mails letters or notices to taxpayers for many different reasons, some of which are vital to correctly filing your tax return. Typically, these letters are about a specific issue with a taxpayer's federal tax return or tax account. A notice may tell you about changes to your account, ask for more information, or inform you that you need to make a payment.

Use TaxCaddy

To provide you with the smoothest tax season experience, our Firm is continuing to use TaxCaddy. If you are a Mowery & Schoenfeld client and have not done so already, we encourage you to sign up for a TaxCaddy account with us. This will allow you to share your documents electronically, send messages directly to your preparer, complete signatures, and file all necessary returns.

For more information or to sign up, please reach out to us at

Sign your engagement letter

This year, both the Master Service Agreement (MSA) and the Statement of Engagement (SOE) were sent to you through SafeSend in January. These documents outline the scope and responsibilities of the work we provide and will replace the historical engagement letters. We will need both the MSA and SOE in order to start work on your 2023 tax returns.

  • The Master Service Agreement (MSA) is a document establishing the terms and conditions of the business relationship between Mowery & Schoenfeld, the service provider, and you, the client. It serves as a comprehensive framework outlining the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of both parties. This document will only need to be signed once for each entity or individual unless a future change in our terms and conditions occurs.

  • The Statement of Engagement (SOE) is a detailed document that supplements the terms laid out in the Master Service Agreement. It provides specific information to the year’s engagements (including tax returns and non-attest services) and will need to be updated and signed every busy season. The SOE will be consistent with engagement letters in the past.

Should you have any questions or require further clarification on any aspect of the MSA or SOE, email us today!

Electronic deposits

As a reminder, M&S can set up refunds to be directly deposited to your bank account. Be sure to provide your accountant with current bank account information so it is sent to the correct account.