2017 tax season is upon us. Monday, January 23, 2017 The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns that day, with more than 153 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2017. The IRS again expects more than four out of five tax returns will be prepared
electronically using tax return preparation software. So that you’re ready for the season, here are five things that you should be aware of:
While there’s time until your taxes are due, it’s best to get a jump on things. With new rules, credits on refund delays and the sheer volume of returns, IRS Commissioner, John Kosikman, is advising; “For this tax season, it’s more important than ever for taxpayers to plan ahead,…IRS employees and the entire tax community will be working hard to make this a smooth filing season for taxpayers.”
Gathering all of your tax information and having it in-hand for preparation by your qualified tax professional will ensure smooth and timely processing. Using a tax organizer, like this one, will help to ensure that you’ve gathered everything you need.
This year’s deadline
The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. In 2017, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday — April 17. However, Emancipation Day — a legal holiday in the District of Columbia — will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline to Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation.
Some refunds will be delayed
Beginning in 2017, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.
Track your refund
The IRS anticipates issuing more than 9 out of 10 taxpayer refunds in less than 21 days. Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app will be updated with projected deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers a few days after Feb. 15. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund? or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so Where’s My Refund? remains the best way to check the status of a refund.
E-file for speedy refunds
Eight out of 10 taxpayers will receive their tax refunds by using direct deposit rather than requesting a paper check. According to the IRS, e-filing your return together with direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your refund.
Only use qualified tax professionals
A trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid fly-by-night preparers who may not be available after this year’s April 18 due date or base fees on a percentage of the refund. By law, all paid tax preparers must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN. Paid preparers must sign the return and include their PTIN. The IRS offers tips to help taxpayers choose a tax return preparer wisely.
Remember though, no matter who prepares it, by signing your return, you become legally responsible for the accuracy of all information included. So, be sure to double-check everything.