If you haven’t already started to collect income-related documents, this announcement from the Internal Revenue Service might add some motivation: the 2016 individual tax filing season officials opens today.
And there’s good news right out of the gate. You’ll have several extra days to file your tax return this year. Taxpayers have until Monday, April 18, to file their 2015 tax returns and pay any tax due because of the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C., falling on Friday, April 15.
The IRS said it expects more than 70 percent of taxpayers to again receive tax refunds this year. Last year, the IRS issued 109 million refunds, with an average refund of $2,797.
The agency officials also said they are working with the private-sector tax industry and “state revenue departments to provide taxpayers with stronger protections against identity theft during the tax filing season.”
As part of a Security Summit effort, stronger protections for taxpayers and the nation’s tax system have gone into effect for the 2016 tax filing season, the IRS said.
The IRS: “The new measures attack tax-related identity theft from multiple sides. Many changes will be invisible to taxpayers but help the IRS, states and the tax industry provide new protections. There will be new security requirements when you’re preparing your taxes online, especially when you sign in to your tax software account, to better protect your tax software account and personal information.”
More than four out of five returns are expected to be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of refunds issued through direct deposit.
The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, is already open, and the agency will begin accepting and processing all tax returns today. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $62,000 or less. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File.
This filing season, like previous ones, will be a challenge for those seeking answers to questions over the telephone. Expect delays as the filing deadlines approach.
“IRS.gov is the best place for taxpayers to go for information about filing their income tax returns this year,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Although we will have more people staffing our phone lines this year, we expect those lines to remain busy so we encourage people to visit the web first as the quickest and easiest way to get assistance.”