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10 things to know before filing your taxes this year

Posted on February 20, 2018

This year’s tax filling season is officially underway, and unbelievably, the IRS expects more than 155 million tax returns this year.

As CPAs for individuals, joint filers, first-time filers, business owners, retirees, new parents, divorcees, those in the military, those filing from abroad, and everyone in between, here is what Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres wants you to consider before you file to keep you in the know and on the right side of new IRS rules and regulations:

  1. Most importantly, you have until Tuesday, April 17, 2018, to file your 2017 returns and pay any taxes due (even if you file for an extension.)
  2. E-file is fastest and safest way to file tax return and Direct Deposit is the fastest way to receive a refund.
  3. Have paperwork ready before you file. That includes year-end statements, Forms W-2 from employers and Forms 1099 from banks and other payers. Having charitable contributions, mortgage information, automotive info (such as license fees and mileage) pulled together is also helpful. Doing paperwork in advance helps avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return.
  4. By law, the IRS cannot issue some refunds before mid-February. These refunds are for tax returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS expects the earliest refunds related to EITC and ACTC to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2018. The reason for the delay is to protect against fraud.
  5. If you are expecting a refund, check out “Where’s My Refund?” ‎on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app to find out when your funds are en route to you. It’s easy and safe to use.
  6. Families with incomes of $66,000 or less can file for free through the IRS Free File
  7. Don’t forget to utilize the IRS website. Irs.gov is chock-full of helpful information, commonly asked questions, and even videos. It’s a great resource for taxpayers.
  8. Have a question about a previous year, and can’t find the information in your files? If you are a TSPA client, we can help you locate what you need from our files. Or gov/account allows you to access all kinds of information about your federal tax account.
  9. If you are using a tax filing software product for the first time, you may need your Adjusted Gross Income amount from your prior-year tax return to verify your identity. (Taxpayers using the same tax software they used last year will not need to enter this information.)
  10. Some taxpayers use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers on their taxes. If this includes you, make sure your ITIN has not expired before you file.

All our CPAs agree, it’s always better to be prepared with information and documentation before you begin the filing process.

Never used a CPA before? We can help new clients get all the credits and deductions applicable to their situation – perhaps many they didn’t even know about. Let’s set up a consultation and see what TSPA can do for you.