Thursday, January 7, 2016

IRS: Tax returns will be accepted beginning Jan. 19

Tax season kicks off Jan. 19 when the Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting electronic returns.
More than 150 million individual returns are expected to be filed in 2016 – with more than 80 percent being submitted electronically and prepared using tax preparation software, according to an IRS news release.

Early birds eager to file can work with tax preparers ahead of time, but the documents won’t be filed until the Jan. 19 start date.

For procrastinators, the filing deadline to submit is April 18 – rather than the traditional April 15. Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day that Friday, pushing the deadline to the following Monday, according to the release.

The IRS in its release is urging taxpayers to have all year-end statements in hand before filing, including W-2 forms from employers, 1099 forms from banks and other payers and 1095-A forms for those claiming the premium tax credit.

I have this piece of advice for early birds and procrastinators alike: Have a trusted tax preparer file your return for you.
“The biggest mistake I see is that they trusted the wrong preparer. With the IRS, there’s a bigger focus on fraud prevention. People doing tax returns for others out of their garages are the people you cannot trust” .

Another bit of advice:  File – even if you think you owe – for two reasons.
In some instances, the person who thought they owed ends up receiving a refund from the government, he said. And people who don’t file can face steep penalties from the federal government.

The penalties for not filing or paying owed taxes on time include an additional 5 percent charge a month for the payment that the person failed to deliver on time. The maximum penalty is capped at 25 percent over a five-month period, but there’s also accrued interest.

Tips for choosing a return preparer and details about national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.
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DATES TO KNOW
First day to file: Jan. 19
Last day to file: April 18