The 2019 tax season officially opened on Jan. 28. Here are some things to consider when preparing to file your taxes.
New information for tax year 2018
All individual taxpayers will file using the new Form 1040. The Forms 1040A and 1040EZ are no longer available. Taxpayers who previously filed these forms will now file Form 1040. According to the IRS, the new Form 1040 used a “building block” approach allowing individuals to add only the schedules they need to their 2018 federal tax return.
Taxpayers with more complicated returns will need to use the new Form 1040 Schedules. This group of taxpayers includes those who claim certain deductions or credits, or who owe additional taxes.
Individuals who filed their federal tax return electronically last year may not notice any changes. According to the IRS, the tax return preparation software will automatically use their answers to the tax questions to complete Form 1040 and any needed schedules.
Who is required to file
Age, income, filing status determines if a taxpayer must file a tax return. Other rules may apply if the taxpayer is self-employed or if they are a dependent of another person.
Filing to get a refund
If a taxpayer answers “yes” to any of the following questions, they could get a refund:
- Did my employer withhold federal income tax from my pay?
- Did I make estimated tax payments?
- Did I overpay on my 2017 tax return and have it applied to 2018?
- Am I eligible for certain refundable credits such as, the earned income tax credit
Free tax help
Low and moderate-income taxpayers can get help filing their tax returns for free. The IRS’s commercial partners offer free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $66,000 or less. Taxpayers who earned more can use IRS Free File.
No matter who prepares a federal tax return, by signing the return, the taxpayer becomes legally responsible for the accuracy of all information included. IRS.gov offers a number of tips about selecting a preparer and information about national tax professional groups.
Taxpayers are urged to make sure they have all of their year-end statements in hand before filing.
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019. The IRS also expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible a tax return may require additional review and take longer.
To track your refund, click here.