The IRS 2019 Tax Season Has Begun
The 2019 tax season has begun for taxpayers and businesses. The agency is officially accepting and processing federal tax returns for tax year 2018. Even though major tax law changes are in effect due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS has been able to kick off the season without a hitch.
150 Million Tax Returns for 2019
Already, several million tax returns have come in during the busy opening hours for the agency. They want taxpayers to receive their refunds quickly, and are dedicating all the resources available to make that happen.
Government Shut Down
With the government shutdown temporarily behind us, the IRS is working to promptly resume normal operations. The IRS anticipates refunds to start to go out this week. The Internal Revenue Service also expects to pay a lot of refunds the middle to late February. Just like previous years.
Where’s My Refund?
Since the IRS tax season has begun, your first question, after you file your 2018 tax return will be where’s my refund? You are welcome to check the IRS.gov website for updates, just select “Where’s My Refund?”. This is a fast, easy and convenient way to avoid the long wait on the phone during the tax season. Especially, if there is another government shutdown. The IRS updates the tool only once a day, so there is no need to check more often.
IRS2Go Mobile App
Yes, the IRS has a mobile app. IRS2Go is another great way to check the status of a refund. Both IRS2Go and “Where’s My Refund?” will update deposit dates for most early EITC and ACTC refund filers on Feb. 17th. Therefore, filers will not see a refund date on “Where’s My Refund?” or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so these filers should not contact or call about refunds before the end of February.
April Deadline to File Taxes
Monday, April 15, 2019, is the deadline for most taxpayers to file tax returns. The exceptions are Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Massachusetts and Maine, along with Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia. April 17th will be the 2019 filing deadline for taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts. Don’t worry, things will get back to normal in 2020.
So, as tax season has begun, you should note that the IRS has e-file help for taxpayers. The IRS anticipates that approximately 90 percent of tax returns will be filed electronically.According to the IRS, E-file and direct deposit is still the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Changes
The IRS encourages taxpayers seeking more information on tax reform to look over two online resources: Publication 5307, Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families, and Publication 5318; Tax Reform What’s New for Your Business. For other tips and resources, visit IRS.gov/taxreform or check out the Get Ready page on IRS.gov.
IRS Free File Program
IRS Free File is an IRS program is for people who made less than $66,000 last year. It is a partnership between commercial vendors and the IRS. Taxpayer who qualify may use the electronic version of the current IRS tax forms available through the IRS Free File Program. About 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov.
When does EITC/ACTC start?
EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 27th. The IRS anticipates issuing more than 90% of refunds in less than 21 days. Pretty ambitious! Although, you should expect that these tax returns with the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, my be subject to additional review. This means they will take longer. Again, we suggest your check “Where’s My Refund?” on the IRS.gov website. Oh, and refunds that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, cannot go out before February 15th, it’s the law. This law went into affect to give the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud.
New Form 1040
The IRS created a new Form 1040 for tax year 2018. The redesigned form wraps up Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040-EZ into one sweet package of a form. All individual taxpayers will now use this new 1040 form to file their 2018 federal income tax return.
The new form primary form to start. Then additional schedules should be added, as needed. Taxpayers with simple tax situations will only need to file the Form 1040 with no additional schedules. Oh, and people who use tax software, you will still follow the steps you’re familiar with from previous years. Nearly 90% of taxpayers now use tax software. Therefore, the IRS expects the change to Form 1040 and its schedules to be seamless for those who e-file.
Avoid Refund Delays, Renew ITIN’s
On Dec. 31, 2018, many Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) expired. Even, an ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past 3 years. Also, any ITIN with middle digits of 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81 and 82 (Example: 9NN-73-NNNN) is now expired. ITINs that have middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 expired Dec. 31, 2017, but taxpayers can still renew them. Affected taxpayers should act soon to avoid refund delays and possible loss of eligibility for some key tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed. An ITIN is used by anyone who has tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. tax law but is not eligible for a Social Security number.
It can take up to 11 weeks to process a complete and accurate ITIN renewal application. For that reason, the IRS urges anyone with an expired ITIN needing to file a tax return this tax season to submit their ITIN renewal application soon.
Sign and Validate Electronic Tax Returns
All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Make sure the copy is secure and encrypted. When using a tax filing software product for the first time, make sure you have the adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from your prior tax return year to verify your identity. Any taxpayer not using the same tax software from last year will not need to enter their prior year information. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
Are you ready for tax season?
Just because tax season has begun, that doesn’t mean you have to struggle with the agony of filing your own taxes. Accuracy is key, in order to avoid an audit. Our tax team of experts, are here to help you. You always want to go with someone who is listed as an active enrolled agent with the IRS and verify their status, such as Alex Franch, BS EA. Why not call him at 781.849.7200 or email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment. Or, better yet, go online and schedule your appointment now. This will help you set a deadline for yourself to gather all your tax documentation and be ready to sit down with him or someone else from our tax team.
Alex Franch, BS EA
Alex is a Tax Specialist and Partner at Joseph Cahill & Associates / WorthTax. He has a diverse background including a Bachelor of Science from Boston College in Mathematics and extensive military service. Alex is an Enrolled Agent and has a decade of tax preparation experience. He is passionate about serving businesses with tax and financial planning strategies. Mr. Franch is licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He holds a Series 6, 63, 65, and 7, and by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Insurance. Alex Franch is a registered representative of, and offers securities and investment advisory services through, Commonwealth Financial Network. He is a registered broker-dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC.
Tax Season Resources
- Who Underpaid 2018 Taxes? IRS Tax Break
- Get Ready for Tax Season, Tax Time 2019 Part 2
- Tax Time 2019 is Around the Corner, Are You Ready? Part 1
- 12 Easy Way to Get Your Personal Finances in Shape for 2019
- Holiday Gifts with Tax Benefits
- Protect Tax Data, Keep All Sensitive Tax Data Safe
- Tax Reform is Confusing Part 2
- Tax Reform is Confusing! Here is a Side by Side Comparison Part 1
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- Emergency Savings: 67% of People Don’t Even Have $500 Emergency Fund
- Did You Donate to Charity?
- Don’t Expect the IRS to Take Your Word on Charitable Deductions – Substantiate
- Charitable Contribution: Tax Plan for Potential IRA-to-Charity Provision
- Home Office Tax Deduction Good or Bad?
- 529 Plan: Higher Education, Learning the Hard Way
- Minimizing Tax on Social Security Benefits
- Employee Business Expenses: Tax Reform Suspends Tax Deduction