|IRS announces changed deadline and new features|
|Thursday, 26 January 2012 11:48|
At the official launch of the tax season earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service announced that taxpayers have until April 17 to file their 2011 tax returns. The IRS is encouraging taxpayers to e-file their returns to ensure accuracy and faster refunds.
Taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 17 to file their 2011 tax returns and pay outstanding taxes this year because the traditional deadline date, April 15, falls on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls this year on Monday, April 16. Taxpayers requesting an extension have until October 15 to file their 2011 tax returns.
The IRS also reminds paid tax return preparers that they must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and include the number on all returns they prepare. All PTINs must be renewed for 2012. PTINs can be renewed online.
To encourage early and stress-free tax return experience, the IRS announced new efforts to streamline the return process for taxpayers. The first innovation is a redesigned website for the agency, with new navigation features and helpful information at www.IRS.gov. The best way for taxpayers to get answers to their questions is by visiting the new IRS website. The home page of the IRS website in particular has been updated for easier online filing of tax returns, and access to key forms and information. Taxpayers with smart phones can also check on the status of their tax refund through the IRS application – IRS2Go.
The IRS also has begun a new pilot program, which allows taxpayers to get advice and assistance for their tax issues through an interactive, two-way video conferencing. The IRS is conducting a limited introduction of this new video conferencing technology at 10 IRS offices and two other sites, and may expand to further sites in the future. A list of locations is available on IRS.gov.
Taxpayers now also can turn in their tax returns through the IRS's e-files and Free File returns on Jan. 17, 2012. Additional details about e-file and Free File will be announced later this month. IRS Free File program provides options for free, brand name tax software or online fillable forms, plus free electronic filing. Anyone can use Free File to prepare a federal tax return. Taxpayers who make $57,000 or less can choose from approximately 20 commercial software providers. There's no income limit for Free File Fillable Forms, which is the electronic version of IRS paper forms that also includes free e-filing.
Individuals making $50,000 or less can use the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for free tax preparation and free electronic filing. Individuals age 60 and older can also take advantage of free tax counseling and basic income tax preparation through Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. Information on these programs can be found at IRS.gov.