IRS Starts 2015 Tax Season

tax filingThe Internal Revenue Service announced the opening of the 2015 filing season.  The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, opened Friday, and the IRS will begin accepting and processing all tax returns on Tuesday – January 20th.  Taxpayers have until Wednesday – April 15th to file their 2014 tax returns and pay any tax due.

The IRS expects to receive about 150 million individual tax returns this year.  Like each of the past three years, more than 4 out of 5 returns are expected to be filed electronically.  This year provides a growing selection of online services, including features that help taxpayers understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them at tax time, along with the availability of the Free File program.

The IRS Free File program is available at IRS.gov and offers two filing options:

  • Brand name software offered by IRS’ commercial partners to individuals and families with incomes of $60,000 or less;
  • On-line fillable forms, the electronic version of the IRS’ paper forms, available to taxpayers at all income levels.  This is especially useful to people comfortable filling out their own forms.

E-file, when combined with direct deposit, is the fastest way to get a refund.  More than 3 out of 4 refund recipients now choose direct deposit.  People who e-file make fewer mistakes, and it costs nothing for those who choose the IRS Free File.  Like last year, the IRS expects to issue more than 9 out of 10 refunds within 21 days.  It takes longer to process paper forms and refunds could take up to 7 weeks.

The IRS has set up a special section at IRS.gov/aca  with more information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the 2014 income tax return.  This year’s return will include new questions to incorporate provisions of the ACA.  The majority of taxpayers will simply need to check a box to verify they have health insurance coverage.  For the minority of taxpayers who have to do more, the IRS.gov/aca features useful information and tips regarding the premium tax credit, individual shared responsibility requirement, and other tax features of the ACA.

All taxpayers should visit IRS.gov as a first stop for information.  Recent budget cuts and staff reductions will mean longer wait times on the phone.  The IRS also reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can also provide helpful information about the health care law.  A number of tips about selecting a preparer as well as national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.