Below are steps taxpayers can take now to ensure smooth processing of their 2017 tax return and avoid a delay in getting their refund next year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advises taxpayers to get ready for the upcoming tax filing season by gathering documents, renewing expiring ITINs, and get prepared for refunds.
For additional help, hire a tax expert, like our team at IRS Audit Group to guide you through the process. It is better to get a head start to prevent missteps later. As we enter the tax season, contact us to book an appointment and we can review everything together so you don’t deal with another year of tax stresses on your own.
Start by gathering documents. File a complete and accurate tax return by making sure the IRS has all the documents before filing your return, including 2016. This includes Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and Forms 1095-A from the Marketplace for those claiming the Premium Tax Credit. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return later. Confirm that each employer, bank or other payer has a current mailing address.
Renew Expiring ITINs before the end of the year. Doing so promptly will avoid a refund delay and possible loss of key tax benefits. Any ITIN not used on a tax return in the past three years will expire on Dec. 31, 2017. Similarly, any ITIN with middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 will also expire at the end of the year. Anyone with an expiring ITIN who plans to file a return in 2018 will need to renew it using Form W-7.
Refunds Held for Those Claiming EITC or ACTC Until Mid-Feb: By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC.
The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2018, if direct deposit was used and there are no other issues with the tax return.
For a faster refund you can choose to e-file or use direct deposit. Electronically filing a tax return is the most accurate way to prepare and file. Errors delay refunds and the easiest way to avoid them is to e-file. Nearly 90 percent of all returns are electronically filed. There are several e-file options:
- IRS Free File,
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs,
- Commercial tax preparation software, or
- Tax professional.
Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. With direct deposit, a refund goes directly into a taxpayer’s bank account. There’s no reason to worry about a lost, stolen or undeliverable refund check.