The Internal Revenue Service opened the 2011 tax filing season in January by announcing that taxpayers have until April 18 to file their tax returns.
The IRS reminded taxpayers impacted by recent tax law changes that using e-file is the best way to ensure accurate tax returns and get faster refunds.
Taxpayers will have until Monday, April 18, to file their 2010 tax returns and pay any tax due because Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls this year on Friday, April 15.
By law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do; therefore, all taxpayers will have three extra days to file this year. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Oct. 17 to file their 2010 tax returns.
The IRS expects to receive more than 140 million individual tax returns this year, with most of those being filed by the April 18 deadline.
IRS officials also cautioned taxpayers with foreign accounts to properly report income from these accounts and file the appropriate forms on time to avoid stiff penalties.
The IRS also reminded tax professionals preparing returns for a fee that this is the first year that they must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number.
Tax return preparers should register immediately using the new sign-up system available through www.IRS.gov/taxpros.
Ways to get assistance
Taxpayers with questions should check the IRS website at www.IRS.gov, call the IRS toll-free number or visit a taxpayer assistance center.
This is also the first filing season that tax packages will not be mailed to individuals or businesses. There are still many options for taxpayers to get paper forms and instructions if they need them. In recent years, fewer and fewer taxpayers received these mailings.
Taxpayers still can get any forms and instructions they need online at www.IRS.gov or they can visit local IRS offices or participating libraries and post offices.
In addition, individuals making $49,000 or less can use the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for free tax preparation and, in many cases, free electronic filing. Individuals age 60 and older can take advantage of free tax counseling and basic income tax preparation through Tax Counseling for the Elderly.
IRS Free File provides options for free brand-name tax software or online fillable forms plus free electronic filing. Everyone can use Free File to prepare a federal tax return.
Taxpayers who make $58,000 or less can choose from approximately 20 commercial software providers.
Once taxpayers file their federal return, they can track the status of their refunds by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool, located on the front page of www.IRS.gov.
Taxpayers generally can get information about their refunds 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of their e-filed returns or three to four weeks after mailing a paper return.
Taxpayers need to provide the following information from their tax returns: (1) Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, (2) filing status and (3) the exact whole dollar amount of your anticipated refund.
If the U.S. Postal Service returns the taxpayer’s refund to the IRS, the individual may be able to use “Where’s My Refund?” to change the address the IRS has on file, online.
Also, taxpayers may complete a Form 8822, Change of Address, and send it to the address shown on the form.
They may download Form 8822 from www.IRS.gov or order it by calling 800-TAX-FORM.