As you file your 2016 return, there are some new considerations. Here are 5 things you need to know.
1. Key dates for the filing season
Mark your calendar for important dates impacting your 2016 federal income tax return.
2. Free File
You can prepare your return online and submit it electronically through Free File if your adjusted gross income in 2016 is $64,000 or less (compared with the $62,000 limit last year). It is estimated that 70% of taxpayers qualify to use Free File, which is a program that enables individuals to prepare and file their returns using solutions offered by private software companies (last year there were 13 companies offering options but the number this year is not yet known). Some options also allow you to do your state income tax returns. You can find information about Free File from the IRS.
For those with income above the Free File limit, returns can be prepared at no cost using Free File Fillable Forms. These are electronic versions of IRS forms where you input the information and the site does basic math calculations for you.
3. Checking on refunds
Where’s My Refund? is an online way to track your refund. You can use it 24 hours after you e-file, or four weeks after you file your return by snail mail.
You can also use a mobile app called IRS2GO to track your refund. This app works on both Apple and Android systems.
Note that updates to tracking are made only once every 24 hours, so there’s no need to check more frequently.
4. Contacting the IRS
The IRS has a toll-free phone number that you can call from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time: 800-829-1040. Last year, it was difficult to get through to the number or to obtain the information being sought. What will happen this year is unclear.
Note: The IRS cautions you not to call about a tax refund unless it’s been more than 21 days since filing electronically, more than six weeks since filing on paper, or the Where’s My Refund? tool directs you to contact the IRS.
5. Miscellaneous changes
From year to year, there are a number of developments that may impact the filing and processing of your return. Here are some for this year:
As Benjamin Franklin said, “nothing is certain but death and taxes.” You can’t duck your filing responsibilities, and changes from year to year make it confusing to do the right thing. At J.K. Lasser, we aim to provide you with the best information to help you meet your tax responsibilities. We wish you success in this filing season.