IRS starts accepting tax returns, warns of identity theft

Taxpayers beginning January 23 can start downloading paper tax forms from the department's website, but the department is encouraging all taxpayers "to file electronically for the fastest, most error-free return processing", LDR's website states.

This year, the IRS expects to process more than 153 million tax returns.

The next couple of months are prime time for tax identity theft, as millions of individuals file their personal tax returns leading up to the April 18 filing deadline. That's because the Patriots Day holiday is being observed on Friday, April 15th, the normal deadline.

You don't have to wait until then to meet with a tax professional or start the process though.

That, too, is part of the agency's attempt to battle tax fraud and identity theft.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration believes that victims have paid more than $50 million to scammers posing as I.R.S. officials since 2013. "That meant the filing season was over by the time the IRS got the most fundamental data", Olson said. The IRS estimates that it issued $3.1 billion in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves in 2014.

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Taxpayers who file their returns electronically and request their refunds by direct deposit typically receive their refunds sooner, the agency said.

Faster refunds - e-filed returns are processed in 14 days, while a paper return can take up to 12 weeks to process.

Beginning in 2017, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. This more basic Free File option is best for people who are comfortable preparing their own tax returns.

It's the first day of the 2017 tax season. - and so far, according to IRS, they're on schedule. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a new law requires all refunds on returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) be held until February 15.

-If additional tax is due, include the remittance coupon to ensure proper payment posting. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help identify many preparers in your locality by type of credential or qualification.

  • Douglas Reid