Year-End Tax Tips from the Internal Revenue Service

For most tax payers, December 31st is the last day to take actions that will impact 2017 tax returns, according to the IRS.

For instance, charitable contributions are deductible in the year made. This means donations charged to a credit card before the end of the year count for the 2017 tax even if the bill isn’t paid until 2018 and checks made to a charity count for 2017 as long as they’re mailed by the last day of the year.

Taxpayers are urged to refrain from preparing their tax returns until all necessary forms and documents are received. Needed documentation includes W-2 forms from employers and 1099 forms from banks and other payers. Not having all required documents could cause a return to have an error that delays processing and refund issuing.

Be sure to alert the IRS, employers and the U.S. Postal service of any address changes. Also, if you’ve recently had a name change or if a dependent’s name has changed, notify the Social Security Administration to ensure the new name will match IRS and SSA records. A mismatch between the name shown on your tax return and the SSA records can cause issues with processing and could delay refunds.

Internal Revenue Service representatives say they expect more than 90 percent of all 2017 individual tax returns to be prepared using tax software, with the majority of those being e-filed.

The IRS reports that e-filing remains the safest way to file an accurate income tax return and combining it with direct deposit is the fastest way to receive a refund. IRS statistics indicate that in 2017, more than 88 million refunds worth over $260 billion were directly deposited into taxpayers’ bank accounts. They expect to issue more than nine out of ten refunds in less than 21 days in 2018.

However, by law, the IRS cannot issue refunds prior to mid-February if the return claims the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. They advise individuals not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. To stay informed you can check the Where’s My Refund tab on after January 2nd.

For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service assistance page.