Dec 12

Tax Season Begins January 23; Returns Due April 18

Federal Tax Day – Current,I.2,2017 Tax Season Begins January 23; Returns Due April 18; (IR-2016-167),(Dec. 12, 2016)

The IRS has announced that it will begin accepting and processing electronic and paper returns on Monday, January 23, 2017. The deadline to submit 2016 tax returns will be Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The traditional April 15, 2017 deadline falls on a Saturday and because Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day the following Monday, Friday, April 17, 2017, the deadline has been pushed to Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Taxpayers claiming certain tax credits should expect a longer wait for refunds. The IRS is required to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit until February 15, 2017. Factoring in weekends, the President’s Day holiday and the processing time taken by financial institutions, the IRS cautioned that many affected taxpayers may not have actual access to their refunds until the week of February 27.

The IRS also urged taxpayers to keep copies of their prior-year tax returns for at least three years and reminded those who are changing tax software products this filing season that they will need their adjusted gross income from their 2015 tax return in order to file electronically. In addition, Electronic Filing Pin is no longer an option.

Further, under a recent change in law, any Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years will expire on January 1, 2017. Also, any ITIN with middle digits of either 78 or 79 (9NN-78-NNNN or 9NN-79-NNNN) will expire on that date. Thus, anyone with an expiring ITIN and a need to file a tax return in the upcoming filing season should file a renewal application in the next few weeks to avoid lengthy refund and processing delays. Failure to renew early could result in refund delays and denial of some tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed. An ITIN renewal application filed now will be processed before one submitted at the height of tax season from mid-January to February. ITIN renewal applicants should be sure to use the latest version of Form W-7, revised September 2016. The most current version of the form, along with its instructions, is available on the IRS website.

According to the IRS, choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The Service anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File, the program that offers free brand-name software to about 100-million individuals and families with incomes of $64,000 or less. The IRS also sponsors programs that offer free tax help to individuals that qualify. More information about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs can be found on the IRS website by entering “free tax prep” in the search box, or by using the IRS2Go app on a smart phone.

The IRS also reminded taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and advice about the ever-changing tax code. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details about national tax professional groups are available here.