Despite the announcement from the Internal Revenue Service about the late start to tax season, taxpayers are already confused.
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Why the confusion? Tax preparer advertising. Some tax preparers are accepting tax returns before filing season officially opens – and that’s causing my inbox to fill up pretty quickly. The biggest question: “If I file now, will I get my refund faster?”
Easy answer: No.
Tax season for individual taxpayers opens on January 31, 2014. Not January 1. Not January 10. Not January 14.
To be clear, quoting from the IRS website:
The IRS cautioned that it will not process any tax returns before Jan. 31
That doesn’t mean you can’t submit your information early to your tax preparer. Some tax preparers – and software companies – accept information early and hold tax returns until the IRS systems open for processing.
But early submission that assumes you have your complete tax information. That includes your forms W-2, 1099, 1098 and the like which your employer, bank and financial institution is under no obligation to send early (though they may). But without that? Your preparer isn’t really supposed to submit your return electronically. Yep. The IRS makes it very clear that preparers are prohibited from submitting electronic returns to the IRS prior to the receipt of all forms W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R. If you can’t get those forms, there’s a process that has to be followed (more on that later in the season). But filing without them on your behalf can get your preparer in trouble – including sanctions.
And don’t think you can just sneak in a paper return early. Continuing from the IRS website:
[T]here is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date.
So there you have it. You’re simply going to have to be patient. Just 23 more days.
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