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Tax Season: What You Need to Know for This Year

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April 15th is associated with one of life’s certainties; taxes. This year, however, that date has changed, along with other pertinent information that will help when filing your returns this season.

Michael Divine, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service office in St. Louis, says that this April citizens will get some extra time to file their taxes.

“The filing deadline for your 2015 federal tax return is going to be Monday, April 18th, and the reason it’s the 18th instead of the 15th is because there’s a holiday in Washington D. C. called Emancipation Day; a federal holiday for tax collection which means we can do it, so we move it to the next business day and you get three extra days to file your tax return.”

Some of the paper work will change as well this year. Divine says that you’ve purchased health insurance through the online marketplace, a 1095-A form will be included in your filings. This form is needed for people to reconcile any payments they’ve received with what they’re eligible for on their returns. Divine says that a B and C version of the form could also be included, but those are purely informational forms and not necessary.

Tax season also opens the door for identity and tax return theft, but there is a way to decrease your risk to the crime.

“Filing early is certainly a good way to prevent a tax thief from using your personal information. If you have already filed your tax return and a second return comes in with your social security number, then that return is going to come out of the system and be suspicious.”

Divine urges, however, to remain vigilant when completing your tax forms early, noting that an incorrect filing will result in future complications and a letter from the IRS.

The most common scam, says Divine, is a phone call in which citizens are they need to make a tax payment in order to avoid criminal charges.

“Anytime someone calls and says they’re from the IRS, they are never going to be threatening; they’ll never tell you that you’ll be arrested unless you pay a tax bill. A real IRS employee is going to be friendly, courteous and only ask you for information that you don’t have to be worried about giving up.”

Also, he notes to be on the lookout for tax preparers who offer some sort of deal on the amount they will be able to get back for their customers. If the preparer engages in unethical data manipulation, any customers who’ve signed their tax return after-the-fact would be implicated as a co-conspirator.

To check if your tax preparer is IRS certified, visit here.

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