This story is part of, CNET’s coverage of the best tax software, tax tips and everything else you need to file your return and track your refund.
It’s that time of year. The tax season for 2023 is in full swing. The IRS reports it’s received almost 46 million federal returns and issued more than 35 million as of Feb. 24.
Filing taxes is not easy, especially when you aren’t a tax professional or up to date with the latest tax laws. Depending on your filing status, age, income and other factors, tax rules vary from year to year and from person to person.
Our cheat sheet can serve as your guide as you navigate the 2023 tax season, with instructions to find the answers you need. These resources cited below can help you start your return and provide expert advice on tricky tax topics.
So don’t fret — we did the heavy-lifting so you can file with confidence, get your biggest tax refund possible and get back to enjoying your life.
How to get started with your taxes
As with most tasks, the hardest part of doing your taxes is starting. You’ve got 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. But there are good reasons to file as early as possible.
Here’s some info to help you jumpstart your tax return:
Form, forms and more 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 2,731 different tax forms on its website. Learn about the ones you need in 2023, and what to do if you are missing any.
Review tax credits and tax deductions
Once you’ve started your 2022 tax return, 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
Once you’ve finished your 2022 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 if it’s directly deposited or mailed as a paper check, as well as other tips for getting your money quickly and securely.
Answers for specific tax questions in 2023
Everyone’s financial situation is unique, but there are a number of common quandaries that flummox even the most diligent taxpayers.
Here are a few of the more common tax questions for 2023:
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 in filing your return. Be sure to check back as we update this list often with more tax explainers and tips for 2023.