Once again – and all too quickly – another tax season is right around the corner!
If you intend to prepare 2016 tax returns, it’s important to get started now to fulfill IRS requirements. There are a few changes this year involving client refunds, as well as some important deadlines for tax preparers. TaxSlayer Director of Education, David Elijah, recommends the following key pieces of information to get you ready for tax season.
- Tax returns will be due Monday, April 17, 2017 for this upcoming filing season. Don’t forget!
- The IRS has recently announced plans for processing tax returns that include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC) and Additional Child Tax Credit during the opening weeks of the 2017 filing season. The PATH Act, or the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, mandates that no credit or refund for a taxable year shall be made to a taxpayer before February 15 if the taxpayer claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit on the return. This change begins January 1, 2017, and may affect some returns filed early in 2017. According to the IRS, this change allows additional time to prevent lost revenue due to identity theft and refund fraud. Taxpayers should be encouraged to file as they normally do, and return preparers should submit returns as they normally do.
- Obtain an EFIN, or Electronic Filing Identification Number, if you don’t already have one. Just as last year, you must electronically file your returns if you file 11 or more individual federal tax returns per calendar year from your office. In order to electronically file your returns, you must have an IRS-issued EFIN. To apply and get your EFIN, use the IRS’ e-services – Online Tools for Tax Professionals. We strongly suggest that you apply for your EFIN now to increase your chances of getting it before filing season.
- The 2017 PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) Renewal Period is currently underway for Tax Professionals – renew or apply for your PTIN now. If you prepare or assist in the preparation of federal tax returns for compensation, you must apply for or renew your PTIN each year by December 31. For those who have a 2016 PTIN, the renewal process only takes a few moments online. The renewal fee is $50 this year. If registering for the first time, the PTIN application fee is $50 and the process may also be completed online. The easiest and fastest method to renew or apply is to use the IRS’ online registration system. Receipt of your PTIN is immediate upon your successful renewal or registration.
- Once again for this year, Continuing Education for tax preparers is not mandatory, but the IRS is maintaining the voluntary program for unenrolled preparers. Tax preparers who complete a required amount of approved CE by December 31 will earn an Annual Filing Season Program record of completion. These preparers will also be listed in a public database on the IRS website (the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers). Attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents will be included in the directory but are exempt from the AFSP requirements.