Tax filing season is officially here. Today marks the first day the IRS will accept 2017 tax returns, with this year's filing deadline on April 17. One of the biggest questions the IRS is facing this year is about the impact of the new tax law on filing. IRS spokesman Raphael Tolino tells KTRH the effect of the tax law should be minimal for this year, except for some possible delays in refunds. "The new legislation that was signed into law just before Christmas is basically for 2018 going forward, which will normally be filed in 2019," he says. "For 2017, things are pretty much what they've been in the last few years."
Another major concern for taxpayers is the rise in fraudulent tax returns and fraudulent refund claims using stolen identities. On that front, the IRS is taking aggressive action this year. "We're working as hard as we can to prevent fraudulent refunds from going out the door to begin with," says Tolino. "So if your refund takes a little longer, do understand it's because of all the screens and detectors and filters we have in place."
The IRS also warns taxpayers not to fall victim to scams contacting you to ask for your personal information, which is often how thieves get the fake identities to file fake returns. "The IRS will normally contact taxpayers with a letter in the mail, not with an out-of-the-blue e-mail and not with a random threatening phone call," says Tolino.
Overall, whether you want to be an early bird and file now or put it off until April, the goal is to do it in the quickest, most convenient way possible. "We would encourage folks to get to a computer and e-file, choose direct deposit, and do a paperless return---it's the easiest way," says Tolino. "And take advantage of all the free tax preparation opportunities that are out there, either in your community or with our freefile program."