2019 Tax Season Updates

IRS Starts Accepting Returns on Jan. 28

Despite the partial government shutdown, the IRS announced they will start processing tax returns on Jan. 28, 2019. Refunds will also be issued on their normal schedule. Taxpayers can rest assured they won’t experience any delays that are out of the ordinary.

Jan. 28 is still a few weeks away, but you can start filing your return with TaxAct today. TaxAct started accepting returns on Jan. 3, 2019. Once the IRS opens, all e-filed returns using TaxAct’s software will promptly be submitted to the IRS for processing.

EITC Refunds Delay Reminder

If you plan to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) this season, remember the law requires the IRS to place a hold on those refunds until Feb. 15. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted in 2015, initiated the delay in an attempt to protect taxpayers and their families against fraud.

If you do not plan to claim either of those two credits, the PATH Act delay does not apply to you.

To check the status of your refund, use the IRS’ Where’s My Refund tool.

Tax Day is April 15 Except for Maine and Massachusetts

For most taxpayers, the 2019 tax deadline is April 15, 2019. However, taxpayers who live in Maine (ME) or Massachusetts (MA) have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns. Why?

This year, April 15 falls on Patriot’s Day, which is a legal holiday in ME and MA. And to further complicate matters, April 16 is Emancipation Day, which is an observed holiday in D.C. That pushes the next open business day to April 17, 2019, meaning taxpayers in ME and MA have a few extra days to file and pay their federal income taxes.

New Form 1040, Same Filing Experience

Late last year, the IRS released a revised Form 1040 for 2018 tax returns. The new form replaced Form 1040A and 1040EZ. All taxpayers, regardless of their tax situations, will use Form 1040 to file their returns.

To accompany the revised form, six new schedules were also created. Taxpayers will now use Schedules 1 through 6 to report a large majority of their tax information. Filers with simple tax situations may only need to use Form 1040, however.

Despite these changes, you likely won’t notice a difference in your filing experience if you use DIY tax software, like TaxAct. The software still walks users through completing their returns through an easy to follow Q&A format. As you answer the questions with your tax information, the software will fill in the appropriate boxes on Form 1040 and select the right schedules for you. And the best part? The product’s calculations are backed by the TaxAct’s 100k Accuracy Guarantee.

Scams are on the Rise

Be on the lookout for scams this tax season! The IRS issued a warning against phishing emails involving payroll direct deposit, wire transfer, and W-2 scams. Learn how these scams work here.

For tips on protecting yourself and your money, click here.

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