2017 Tax Filing Season Begins January 23 & Tax Returns due April 18, 2017

On December 12, 2016, the IRS announced today that the 2017 tax filing season (for the tax year 2016) will begin on January 23, 2017. The 2017 tax filing season e-filings will be accepted by the IRS starting that date. The IRS again expects that more than four out of five tax returns will be prepared electronically using tax return preparation software.

2017 Tax Filing Season Deadline is on April 18, 2017

The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns will be April 18, 2017 (Tuesday), rather than the usual April 15. The delay is caused by the fact that April 16 falls on a Saturday which would usually move the deadline to the following Monday (April 17). However, April 17 is the Emancipation Day, which is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, and the final deadline is pushed to April 18, 2017 (under the law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the national filing deadlines).

Early Paper Filing Offers No Advantage in the 2017 Tax Filing Season

Many software companies and tax professionals will begin accepting tax returns before January 23 and then they will submit the returns when the IRS systems open. It is noteworthy to state, however, that the IRS will begin processing paper tax returns only on January 23. Hence, there is no advantage to filing paper tax returns in early January instead of waiting for the IRS to begin accepting e-filed returns.

Some of the 2017 Tax Filing Season Refunds Could Be Affected by the PATH Act

The IRS also reminded the taxpayers that the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (the PATH Act) will have a direct impact on the timing of some refunds. In particular, the PATH Act requires the IRS to hold refunds that claim Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (“ACTC”) until February 15. The hold applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with EITC and ACTC. Then, it will take several days for these refunds to be released and processed through financial institutions. With weekends and holidays, the IRS estimates that many taxpayers will not be able to access their refunds until after February 27, 2017.

The idea behind the new law is to protect the taxpayers by giving the IRS more time to detect and prevent tax fraud, which has become a huge headache for the IRS in the past few years.

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