It's Official: 2016 Filing Season Opens Jan. 19

Source: AccountingWEB

December 21, 2015

By Jason Bramwell

Now that President Obama has signed into law legislation that extends a bevy of tax incentives for businesses and individuals, the IRS officially announced on Monday that tax-filing season will open as scheduled on Jan. 19, 2016. 

The tax agency will begin accepting individual electronic returns that day and will start processing paper returns around that same time.

“We look forward to opening the 2016 tax season on time,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a written statement. “Our employees have been working hard throughout this year to make that happen. We also appreciate the help from the nation’s tax professionals and the software community, who are critical to helping taxpayers during the filing season.”

The IRS is anticipating more than 150 million individual returns in 2016, with more than four out of five being prepared using tax return preparation software and filed electronically. 
 
And if you didn’t know already, the filing deadline for 2016 is not April 15, but April 18. Why? Washington, DC, will celebrate Emancipation Day on April 15, which pushes the deadline to the following Monday for most of the country. If you live in Massachusetts, your filing deadline is April 19 because of Patriots’ Day, which falls on April 18. Same for Maine, as that state’s Patriot’s Day also falls on that Monday.

The legislation that President Obama signed into law on Dec. 18 makes permanent several provisions – such as the research and development tax credit and Section 179 expensing amounts for small businesses – and extends many others – like bonus depreciation, which allows companies of all sizes to depreciate half the cost of an equipment purchase – for several years. 
 
“This provides certainty for planning purposes, which will help taxpayers and the tax community, as well as the IRS,” Koskinen said.

The IRS reminds taxpayers to have all of their year-end statements in hand before filing, including Forms W-2 from employers, Forms 1099 from banks and other payers, and Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, for those claiming the premium tax credit.

“We encourage taxpayers to take full advantage of the expanding array of tools and information on IRS.gov to make their tax preparation easier,” Koskinen said.

The IRS noted that many tax software companies will begin accepting tax returns earlier in January and submitting them to the IRS when processing systems open.