WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 29, and reminded taxpayers that refunds will not be available before late February for taxpayers claiming earned income and child tax credits.
The IRS expects to receive nearly 155 million individual returns this year. The deadline will be April 17 — the usual date was pushed back because Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, is being observed on April 16.
Many software companies and tax professionals will accept tax returns before Jan. 29 and submit them when the IRS systems open. Paper returns will begin processing in mid-February. The IRS said it set the opening date for Jan. 29 “to ensure the security and readiness of key tax processing systems” and to assess the potential impact of tax legislation on 2017 tax returns.
The IRS said the earliest refunds related to the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit will be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb. 27. This timetable applies to the entire refund, including the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC. The agency said it still anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they should keep copies of their prior-year tax returns for at least three years. Taxpayers who are using a tax software product for the first time will need their adjusted gross income from their 2016 tax return to file electronically.
The Where's My Refund? tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app will be updated with projected deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers in late February. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund? or through their software packages until then.
Options for filing and preparing returns are on the IRS.gov website. The Let Us Help You page helps answer most questions, and the IRS Services Guide links to these and other IRS services. Taxpayers can also go to IRS.gov/account to securely access information about their federal tax accounts, set up an online payment agreement, and access tax records. Visit IRS.gov/secureaccess to review the required identity authentication process.
Seventy percent of taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less.
— Sun staff