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IRS Announces 2017 Filing Season Opens January 23, Reminds Taxpayers About Delayed Refunds

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that tax season will open on Monday, January 23, 2017. The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns that day, with more than 153 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2017.

Every year, taxpayers have questions about early filing. Many software companies and tax professionals will accept tax returns before opening day, January 23, 2017. That doesn't mean that your tax return gets filed early. Those software companies and tax professionals will submit returns when IRS systems open and the IRS will begin processing paper tax returns at the same time. There is no advantage to filing tax returns on paper in early January instead of waiting for the IRS to begin accepting e-filed returns.

Taxpayers will get a few extra days to get their tax returns to the IRS in 2017. The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017. That's because April 15, 2017, falls on a Saturday. That would normally result in a move to the following Monday (April 17, 2017). However, Emancipation Day falls on Monday, April 17 this year. Since that's a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, the tax filing deadline will be pushed ahead for all individual taxpayers to Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

"The opening of filing season reflects months and months of work by IRS employees," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. "This year, we had a number of important legislative changes to program into our systems, including the EITC refund date, as well as dealing with resource limitations. Our systems require extensive programming and testing beforehand to ensure we’re ready to accept and process more than 150 million returns."

As I reported last year, some taxpayer will see delays at the open of the 2017 tax season. A new law requires the IRS to hold refunds tied to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. There may be additional delays: factoring in weekends and the President’s Day holiday, the IRS cautions that many affected taxpayers may not have actual access to their refunds until the week of February 27. You'll want to plan accordingly.

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