IRS announces 2018 tax filing season opens

155 million tax returns projected, 70 percent expect refunds

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WASHINGTON – Marking the beginning of the nation’s tax season, the Internal Revenue Service said Wednesday that it successfully started accepting and processing 2017 federal individual income tax returns. More than 155 million returns are expected to be filed this year.

April 17 is the deadline to file 2017 returns and pay any taxes due. This deadline is later this year due to several factors. The usual April 15 deadline falls on Sunday this year, which would normally give taxpayers until at least the following Monday. However, Emancipation Day, a Washington, D.C., holiday, is observed on Monday, April 16, giving taxpayers nationwide an additional day to file. By law, Washington holidays impact federal tax deadlines in the same way federal holidays do. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Oct. 15 to file.

The IRS expects more than 70 percent of taxpayers to get tax refunds this year. Last year, nearly 112 million refunds were issued, with an average refund of $2,895.

“The IRS has a number of ways to help taxpayers this filing season, and we encourage people to look into the many options available,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “The nation’s tax professionals and software community work with the IRS and help make the tax filing process easier for Americans. The filing season kick-off reflects many months of hard work by the nation’s tax community and IRS employees. And we also appreciate the time and attention taxpayers take as they prepare and file their taxes.”

Use e-File and Free File

The IRS expects about 90 percent of returns to be filed electronically. Choosing e-file and direct deposit remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.

The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, gives eligible taxpayers a dozen options for brand-name products. Free File is a partnership with commercial partners offering free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less. About 70 percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. People who earned more than $66,000 may use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.

Free Tax Help

Low- and moderate-income taxpayers can get help filing their tax return for free. More than 90,000 volunteers around the country can help people correctly complete their return.

To get this help, taxpayers can visit one of the more than 12,000 community-based tax help sites that participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. To find the nearest site, use the VITA/TCE Site Locator on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app.

Additionally, the IRS has YouTube videos available, titled, Claiming EITC or ACTC? Your Refund May Be Delayed, available in English and Spanish

Filing Assistance

No matter who prepares a federal tax return, by signing the return, the taxpayer becomes legally responsible for the accuracy of all information included. IRS.gov offers a number of tips about selecting a preparer and information about national tax professional groups.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before filing. This includes Forms W-2 from employers and Forms 1099 from banks and other payers. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return.

Free tax help for seniors, low- to middle-income persons

KINGMAN – Seniors and low-to middle-income earners will have help navigating tax season this year, as multiple organizations in Kingman will offer free tax preparation services.

“I have center volunteers who have for many years now assisted seniors with what are called state tax credits,” said Debera Daugherty, executive director at the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center. “We assist those who aren’t required, due to age or income, to file state or federal taxes any longer.”

Daugherty said that Arizona may have tax credits that those individuals could qualify for. Appointments can be made with tax assistants at the center from Feb. 2 through April 13.

In addition to helping seniors navigate tax season and state tax credits, the center is working with United Way and its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to offer free tax preparation for low-to middle-income earners with an annual household income of less than $66,000.

Those not needing assistance with preparing taxes can visit myfreetaxes.com to file taxes for free. The same parameters, an annual income of less than $66,000, apply.

The program will begin Feb. 9 and will run through April 13.

Appointments for tax assistance must be made and can be done by contacting the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center, (928) 757-2778 or River Cities United Way, (928) 855-6333.

Assistance will be offered at the Kathryn Heidenrech Adult Center, 1776 Airway Ave # A, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays, and also at the Western Arizona Council of Governments, 208 N 4th St., from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.