IRS to open filing season Monday with some extra warnings

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The Internal Revenue Service is getting ready to open the tax filing season on Monday, Jan. 29, as it gears up to handle the new tax law.

This year, tax season will close on Tuesday, April 17, when individual tax returns and payments are due to the IRS.

The IRS advised tax professionals in an email Friday to bookmark the link to Basic Tools for Tax Professionals for filing instructions, access to forms, publications and reference materials, and information on power of attorney, transcripts, representation, due diligence, professional responsibility and more.

On Friday, the IRS marked the 12th annual Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day with more than 250 total outreach events and activities promoting EITC Awareness around the country. The campaign aims to reach millions of low- and moderate-income workers who may be missing out on this significant tax credit.

The IRS is particularly encouraging tax professionals who have clients with disabilities, or whose clients are parents of children with disabilities, to let them know they may be eligible for the EITC. Help them claim it if they qualify. Publication 4808 contains additional information.

In addition, victims of last year’s hurricanes, especially those who lived in areas affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria may also qualify for the EITC.

Like last tax season, the IRS is also planning to delay refunds for tax returns claiming the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit, subjecting them to extra scrutiny to safeguard against identity theft and tax fraud. Clients who are claim the EITC or ACTC can expect their tax refunds to arrive starting Feb. 27. A new YouTube video provides more details.

The IRS is also warning tax professionals that wage statements and independent contractor forms must be filed with the government by Jan. 31. The date applies to both electronic and paper filers. Federal law requires employers file their copies of Form W-2 and Form W-3 with the Social Security Administration by the end of January and others who paid compensation file Form 1099-MISC with the IRS to report non-employee compensation.

In addition, the IRS plans to warn tax professionals Monday to safeguard data security this tax season. “Filing season has now arrived and we thank you for all you will do for taxpayers and tax administration,” said the IRS. “Over the last two months, we have shared information about the importance of protecting your systems and client data from cyber intruders and identity thieves. Today, we want to provide a little information on what to do if the worst happens— your client information is compromised or your data system is breached. “We hope you never experience a data compromise—whether by cybercriminals, theft or accident—but if it happens there are certain steps you should take. These include notifying law enforcement, your local IRS stakeholder liaison, the Federation of Tax Administrators (who will assist in notifying all the states in which you prepare state returns), your clients, your insurer, the credit bureaus, and others. (For those who have employers or hold franchises, please ensure you know what is required by your employer or your contract.) For a complete list of who to contact, visit, keyword: Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals. For a list of local stakeholder liaison contacts, search: Stakeholder Liaison Local Contacts. Wishing you a productive, successful and safe filing season!”

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Tax season Tax fraud Identity theft Identity theft protection Identity verification EITC Tax credits Child tax credits Data breaches Cyber security IRS