GRAFTON— With the beginning of a new year, that means tax season is right around the corner. The IRS announced on January 4, that the nation’s tax season will begin on Monday, January 29, 2018.
This was chosen as opening date to ensure the security and readiness of key tax processing systems in advance of the opening, as well as to assess the potential impact of tax legislation on 2017 tax returns.
The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on the aforementioned date, with the anticipation of nearly 155 million returns to be filed this year.
According to www.irs.gov, many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before January 29, however, they will not be submitted to the IRS until the system opens.
The IRS strongly encourages individuals to file electronically for a faster refund.
Not only will electronically filed returns be processed faster, it is also believed to be the safest and most accurate way to file and receive a refund. According to past years, this year, the IRS expects more than four out of five returns to be prepared electronically using tax software.
The IRS still anticipates that they will be able to issue approximately nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, although there are some important factors to keep in mind for taxpayers.
While both electronic and paper returns will be accepted on the same date, paper returns won’t be processed until mid-February.
In addition, they would like to remind taxpayers that while the IRS will process all returns when received, by law, they are unable to issue refunds to those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February.
The website states that due to several factors, including banking and financial systems needing time to process deposits, IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on February 27, 2018, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.
The site also shares that after refunds leave the IRS, additional time is necessary for them to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts and products.
Many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving Presidents’ Day could possibly affect their refund timing.
Additionally, the IRS would like to remind taxpayers that they offer a large assortment of options for those needing help filing and preparing their tax return on www.irs.gov.
The IRS also offers filing programs at no cost to the 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers that are eligible.
IRS Free File offers free name-brand software to 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) also offer free tax help to people who qualify. Go to the IRS’s website and enter “free tax prep” in the search box to learn more and find a nearby VITA or TCE site, or download the IRS2Go smartphone app to find a free tax prep provider. If eligible, taxpayers can also locate help from a community volunteer.
The North Central West Virginia Community Action (NCWVCA)office right here in Grafton is a VITA location.
VITA offers free tax help to those who make $54,000 or less, along with those with disabilities, or limited English speaking taxpayers, who may need assistance preparing their own returns.
VITA can be used to file both state, and federal tax returns with no deductions for fees or interest, to those who qualify. With this program, returns are filed electronically and are deposited into bank accounts within seven to ten days.
For more information or to make an appointment with the NCWVCA, please call 304-265-3200.
Additional VITA locations in the area are offered, and can be located by calling 211 or visiting www.WVEITC.com.