by Michael Lodge
Taxpayers can begin taking steps now to ensure smooth processing of their 2016 tax return. If you need tax help just call our office at: 877.778.1770. Here are some reminders:
- Before filing the 2015 return, be sure to make a copy and keep it and all supporting documents for a minimum of three years. Doing so will make it easier for your accountant to prepare your 2016 return next year. In addition, a taxpayer will often need the adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from their 2015 return to properly e-file their 2016 return.
- Check withholding. This is especially important for any taxpayer who is getting a big refund or has a big balance due. A taxpayer with a big refund can reduce the refund amount and boost take-home pay by claiming additional withholding allowances on the Form W-4 they give to their employer. Anyone with a big balance due can have additional tax withheld or make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS. For help, use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov.
- The IRS cautions taxpayers not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. We have clients that call our office demanding to know where their tax refunds are because they are taking a trip and need the funds. Once we hit send to the IRS to e-file the return, we as accountants have no further control. Though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, some returns are held for further review. In addition, starting next year, some people will get their refunds a little later. A recent tax law requires the IRS to hold the refund for any tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the portion related to the EITC or ACTC. Starting Feb. 15, the best way to check the status of a refund is with the Where’s My Refund? tool on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go Mobile App. You may also go to our website at: www.icontaxgroup.com and click on the link to check your refund status, it is at the bottom of the home page.
- The recent change also includes a new requirement for employers. They are now required to file their copies of Forms W-2 and certain Forms 1099 with the federal government by Jan. 31. The Jan. 31 deadline has long applied to employers furnishing copies of these forms to their employees.