What you need to know now about the upcoming tax season
By Sarah Skidmore Sell
It’s a new year and time to put the last one to bed, which means filing your taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service says to expect a few changes when the nation’s individual income tax filing season opens on Jan. 23.
Here are some of the changes you should be aware of:
NEW DATE: Taxes are usually due on April 15, but this year that falls on a Saturday. And Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., will be observed on Monday, April 17.
So that pushes the nation’s deadline to file returns and pay any amount due to April 18.
You don’t have to wait until then to meet with a tax professional or start the process though.
DELAYED REFUNDS: A new law may delay refunds for some low to moderate income taxpayers who file early.
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, known as the PATH Act, requires the IRS to withhold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. The change is designed to give the IRS more time to detect and prevent tax fraud.
The affected refunds will start being released on Feb. 15 but they may not arrive in bank accounts until the week of Feb. 27, as it will take more time for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds. The three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day on Feb. 20 may also affect the timing of when funds are available.
The IRS said it still anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.
Those with questions can use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS.gov website and the IRS2Go phone app to find projected deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers a few days after Feb. 15.
NEW ID NUMBERS: The PATH Act also requires that certain individual taxpayer identification numbers, known as ITINs, be renewed.
Any ITIN that hasn’t been used on a tax return at least once in the past three years, as well as any ITIN with middle digits of 78 or 79, must be renewed before a return can be processed. Anyone filing a tax return with an expired ITIN could experience return processing and refund delays, as well as denial of some tax benefits until the number is renewed. An ITIN renewal application could take up to 11 weeks to process during tax filing season.
ITINs are used by people who have tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but are not eligible for a Social Security number.