IRS and Partners Look to Start of 2017 Tax
Season; Encourage use of IRS.gov and eFile;
Warn of Refund Delays
Jan. 5, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and partners from the states and tax industry today reminded taxpayers that the nation’s 2017 individual income tax filing season opens January 23.
The IRS expects more than 153 million tax returns to be filed this year and taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017, to file their 2016 tax returns and pay any tax due.
The deadline is extended because the Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., will be observed on Monday, April 17 pushing the nation’s filing deadline to April 18.
“There are a number of important changes this year involving refunds and tax law changes that we
encourage people to keep in mind,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We encourage
taxpayers to plan ahead and take a few minutes to review these changes. As we enter the filing
season, taxpayers should know that the dedicated workforce of the IRS and the nation’s tax
community stand ready to help.”
Taxpayers that are efiling can still submit returns to their software provider before Jan. 23. They will hold the return and transmit it to the IRS when the systems open. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they don’t have to wait until Jan. 23 to contact their tax professional.
In 2016, the IRS issued 111 million individual tax refunds and expects more than 70 percent of
taxpayers to receive a refund in 2017. Also, the IRS reminds taxpayers that a new law requires the
IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax
Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15.
“We encourage taxpayers to file as they normally would, including returns claiming the EITC or
ACTC” Koskinen said. “The IRS and the nation’s tax community are committed to making this
another smooth filing season.”
eFile and Free File
More than four out of five returns are expected to be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of
refunds issued through direct deposit. The IRS encourages taxpayers to plan ahead and take
advantage of the online resources available on IRS.gov.
Choosing efile and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate
income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days from the time returns are received.
The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, opens Friday, January 13. Commercial partners of the IRS offer free brand name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $64,000 or less. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File.
Protecting Taxpayers from ID Theft Related Refund Fraud
The IRS continues to work with state tax authorities and the tax industry to address tax related
identity theft and refund fraud. As part of the Security Summit, the IRS made significant inroads
against fraudulent returns in 2016.
Summit leaders detailed new and expanded safeguards for taxpayers in the upcoming
2017 tax season. The 2017 focus revolves around “trusted customer” features that will help
the authenticity of the taxpayer and the tax return before, during and after a tax return is filed. Additional protections will build on the 2016 successes that prevented fraudulent returns and
protected tax refunds.
Health Care Basics
Again this year, meeting the tax obligation of the Affordable Care Act for the vast majority of
taxpayers will simply mean checking a box to verify everyone on their return has health coverage.
For others, IRS.gov/aca features useful information, tips and interactive online tools to help
taxpayers with the premium tax credit, the individual shared responsibility requirement and other tax related provisions of the ACA.
The Affordable Care Act requires that a taxpayer and each member of their family either has
qualifying health coverage for each month of the year, qualifies for an exemption, or makes an
individual shared responsibility payment when filing their tax returns.
Assistance Filing the Tax Return
More than 90 percent of all tax returns are prepared using tax return preparation software. This
software generally includes tax law help along with reminders and prompts about tax breaks and
The IRS reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can also provide helpful information about the tax law. Information on tips about selecting a preparer and national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.
The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year end statements in hand before they file their return. This includes Forms W2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and for those claiming the premium tax credit, Form 1095A from the Marketplace. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return later.
The IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, the
Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act mandates the IRS hold refunds on tax returns
claiming the EITC or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until midFebruary.
The change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent tax fraud.
The IRS will begin releasing EITC and ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15, but cautions taxpayers that
these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb.
27. The IRS wants taxpayers to know it will take additional time for their refunds to be processed.
The IRS reminds taxpayers many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the threeday
holiday weekend involving President’s Day may affect their refund timing.
Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app will be updated with projected
deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers a few days after Feb. 15.
Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund? or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so Where’s My Refund? remains the best way to check the status of a refund.
Expired Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)
The PATH Act requires that certain ITINs expire on Jan. 1, 2017. Any ITIN not used on tax returns once in the past three years and any ITIN with middle digits of either 78 or 79 must be renewed before a return can be processed.
Anyone filing a tax return with an expired ITIN could experience return processing and refund delay as well as denial of some tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed. An ITIN renewal application could take as long as 11 weeks to process during tax filing season. ITINs are used by people who have tax filing or payment obligations under U.S. law but are not eligible for a Social Security number.
Help for Taxpayers
The IRS reminds taxpayers they have a variety of options to get help filing and preparing their tax
return on IRS.gov. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly
offer free tax help to people who qualify.
Go to irs.gov and enter “free tax prep” in the search box to find a nearby VITA or TCE site. The IRS2Go Mobile App can help find free tax preparation assistance, check your refund status.
All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software
product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior year
tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and
electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information and
advice about the ever changing tax code. Tips for choosing a return preparer and details about
national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.