Money Talks: Tax Prep Early

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January is Financial Wellness Month, Get Organized Month, and Tax Identity Theft Week - January 27 - February 2, 2020


Internal Revenue Service announced last week that the official opening day of the 2020 tax season for individuals will be Jan. 27

Reasons to file tax returns as soon as possible:

  • Avoid tax identity theft: Tax Identity Theft Week - January 27 - February 2, 2020.
  • This fraud is particularly worrisome because the legitimate taxpayer may have no way of knowing that fraud has been committed. The scam only works for returns that haven't been filed by legitimate consumers, so fraudsters are highly motivated to file as early as possible.
  • Ways to prevent Tax Identity Theft:
  • File early
  • Review your credit reports for suspicious activity
  • Protect your personal information – don’t provide a Social Security number at businesses; ask if another form of ID is acceptable
  • Check your Social Security earnings statement to see if anyone is using your number
  • Install antivirus software on your computers
  • Change your passwords on online accounts regularly

More reasons to file early:

  • Get your refund faster:
  • If you e-file and direct deposit – you could receive your refund in 1 to 3 weeks.
  • Paper file, direct deposit – 3 weeks
  • E-file, paper check – one month
  • Paper file, paper check – 2 months
  • If you claimed either the earned income tax credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, law requires the IRS to hold these returns’ refunds until February 15.
  • Extra time to pay your taxes: You have until April 15 to pay your tax bill. If you know you owe you’ll have more time to save up.
  • Get filing responsibility out of the way. According to a recent TaxSlayer survey, a majority of taxpayers (52%) are stressed over filing their taxes. Any time you face an unpleasant task, it’s best to get it out of the way as soon as possible.
  • Early filers face less competition for access to their tax professional. Some tax pros will charge more to complete your taxes as the filing deadline approaches.

How you can get your taxes filed electronically for free?

the IRS announced it has signed a new agreement with companies that electronically prepare free returns for eligible taxpayers

  • This year, taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $69,000 or less can use free commercial software by going to IRS.gov/freefile. Free File opened Jan. 10, although taxpayers won’t actually be able to file their returns until the start of the tax season – January 27th.
  • Before settling on one company, check to see if you can also file your state return. Some companies will prepare your state return and e-file it free through partnerships with participating state programs.
  • Mississippi Department of Revenue’s webpage with the free or low coast electronic filing partners: https://www.dor.ms.gov/Individual/Pages/e-file-Program.aspx

National Consumer League - Tax ID Theft Information https://www.fraud.org/tax_id_theft

161 episodes