Filing Season Launched on January 23; Some Refunds May Be Delayed


The individual income tax filing season opened on January 23, 2017. The IRS reminded taxpayers that the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) may impact certain refunds in 2017.

Filing season launch
The IRS will begin accepting electronic tax returns and processing paper returns on January 23, 2017. Unlike past years, the IRS did not have to deal with late tax legislation in 2016. Typically, the IRS needed extra time to reprogram its processing systems for late tax legislation, and that can move the start of the filing season to later in January.

The deadline for filing 2016 returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The deadline is three days later in 2017 because April 15, 2017 falls on a Saturday. Additionally, Monday, April 17, 2017, is a holiday in the District of Columbia. That holiday moves the deadline to April 18, 2017.

Refunds
The PATH Act generally requires that no credit or refund for an overpayment for a tax year will be made to a taxpayer before the 15th day of the second month following the close of that tax year if the taxpayer claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) on the return. The provision in the PATH Act applies to credits or refunds made after December 31, 2016.

The IRS explained that it must hold the entire refund, even the portion not associated with the EITC and the ACTC. The IRS reported that it will begin releasing affected refunds starting February 15, 2017. However, the IRS reminded taxpayers that it may take additional time for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to taxpayers’ accounts. The IRS added that taxpayers can track the status of a refund by using the Where’s My Refund? tool on the IRS website and also the IRS2Go app.

“This is an important change, as some of these taxpayers are used to getting an early refund,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We want people to be aware of the change for their planning purposes. We do not want anyone caught by surprise if they get their refund a few weeks later than in previous years.”

ITINs
Another important change affects individual taxpayer identifica-tion numbers (ITINs). Under the PATH Act, any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years expires January 1, 2017. In addition, any ITIN with middle digits of either 78 or 79 (9NN-78-NNNN or 9NN-79-NNNN) will also expire on that date. The IRS encouraged affected taxpayers to renew their ITINs.

For more information about this article, please contact our tax professionals at taxalerts@windes.com or toll free at 844.4WINDES (844.494.6337).