Monday January 23rd marks the beginning of the electronic tax return filing season which will continue until April 18th. You might be thinking, “April 18th? Isn’t the deadline always April 15th?” April 15th falls on a Saturday this year, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday (April 17th). 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 18th, 2017.
New this year, businesses which need to file Form 1065 – US Return of Partnership Income or Form 1120S – US Income Tax Return for an S Corporation, are due March 15th this year. Corporations which file Form 1120 need to file by April 18th.
More than 153 million individual tax returns are expected to be filed in 2017 with more than 80% of the tax returns being prepared electronically using tax return preparation software. If you are switching to a different tax software product this year, you will need to know your adjusted gross income from your 2015 tax return in order to file electronically. Using the Electronic Filing PIN is no longer an option.
To receive your refund in the fastest and safest way, the IRS recommends choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds. The IRS anticipates issuing more than 90% of refunds in fewer than 21 days in this manner.
Here are a few more tax preparation tips:
- Visit the IRS website (irs.gov). The IRS website is full of valuable information and according to the IRS, 70% of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File.
- Gather all important tax documents using documents collected last year as a guide. All taxpayers must save their tax documents for at least three years. A few important documents include:
- 1099s (miscellaneous income, interest, dividends, certain government payments, distributions from pensions, annuities, retirements, etc.)
- Form 1098 – Mortgage Interest
- Vehicle registration fees paid in 2016 and state sales tax paid on cars purchased in 2016
- Receipts and other proof of charitable contributions made in 2016
- Review your return for errors. Check spelling on names, social security numbers, math, and inputs on line items.
- Sign and date your return (along with your spouse).
- Consult your tax professional for help.
All taxpayers should continue to watch out for identity theft scams by people pretending to be IRS representatives through email or phone communications. Remember, the IRS will never:
- Demand immediate payment without first having mailed the taxpayer an explanation of additional tax due.
- Demand that the taxpayer pay taxes without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal the amount said to be owed.
- Require a specific payment method to be used to pay tax owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
Finally, don’t forget about filing your Iowa individual income tax return, which is due May 1st, 2017!This information is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to substitute professional advice.