6 reasons to file taxes sooner rather than later

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They provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

With the 2016 tax season officially open, taxpayers are just beginning to think about getting their finances organized in time for the April 18 filing deadline.

If you have gathered your income tax documents in one place and have them in order, and you’re ready to file electronically, the IRS says it is ready to begin accepting your tax returns beginning Tuesday.

“Clearly an outlet like Turbo Tax will be more cost effective than most traditional CPAs”, said Matt Kerr, a tax manager for Lauterbach Borschow Financial Advisors. One estimate from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued in 2012 found that the IRS could issue $21 billion in potentially fraudulent tax returns due to identity theft over the following five years.

If you file early and get a refund, you can use the money to fund an individual retirement account (IRA) before the April 18 deadline. That is the day Washington, D.C, observes Emancipation Day (normally celebrated on April 16), leading tax day to be pushed to the next business day. This includes Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and for those claiming the premium tax credit, Form 1095-A from the Marketplace.

Are you expecting a tax refund this year? Many large grocery stores, copy centers and office supply stores have forms you can photocopy or print from a CD. Log on to IRS.gov and click on the filing tab to examine your options and to determine if you qualify.

According to TIGTA, callers in the fraud scam often use common names and fake IRS badge numbers; may know the last four digits of the consumer’s Social Security number; make caller ID show that the call is from the IRS and send fake emails from the IRS to support the scam. They do not have the money to fund what they already had, much less anything extra. “It’s important for taxpayers to understand how to tell scammers from the IRS”. Law enforcement reports some income tax theft operations had dozens of refunds sent to the same addresses.

Green also suggests making sure your virus software and computer security systems are up to date if you plan to file online.

The IRS will not demand that someone pay taxes without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

If you want to file your taxes yourself, there are a number of online resources available.

Residents can also receive guidance on qualifications for health care-related tax credits and/or payments.

Image Mark Moz via Flickr

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