Every year, as the IRS continues to make improvements in their processing and the security of electronically filed returns, they adjust the timing of the schedule for processing Form 1040 returns that they receive. In case you were wondering about the timing, here’s a schedule of how your tax season will go:
- Flanery CPAs sending out your Organizer to assist you in gathering 2016 tax return data: these will be mailed to you by mid-January, 2017. [Important: if you moved during 2016 and haven’t already told us your new address, please let us know asap.]
- Information forms being sent to you – these include things like Forms 1099 for interest, dividends or miscellaneous income; Form W-2 showing wage income; brokerage statements – should be mailed by your bank, brokerage and employer no later than January 31, so you’ll receive those some time no later than early February.
- Annual summary of brokerage activities – your stockbroker should be mailing these by the end of January, but we know already that some brokers will not be mailing them or making them available online for you until sometime in February.
- Schedule K-1s from partnerships, LLCs and S-corporations: these are due to the partners and shareholders by the due date of the entity’s return. We recommend that you stay in touch with your contact at the flow-through entity to keep informed as to the expected delivery date of these forms.
- Form 1098 showing annual mortgage interest for 2016: these are also supposed to be in the mail no later than January 31, but they are usually mailed or available online earlier. Sometimes they are included with your monthly mortgage payment statement, so watch for extra slips of paper in those envelopes.
- Charitable contribution acknowledgments for contributions of $250 or larger – these are usually sent throughout the year shortly after your contribution was made. Acknowledgments for year end charitable contributions, if not already received by you, should arrive shortly.
Watch for these documents and gather them in a safe place – receiving everything at once in our offices is one way to ensure that your tax returns are completed and filed as quickly as possible.
The IRS recently announced that the first day that returns can be filed electronically this season is Monday, January 23rd. Returns filed on that date can expect direct deposits of refund amounts (if any) to be received by Friday, February 3rd. Refund timing is anticipated to stretch out over the filing season as the IRS starts receiving larger volumes of returns. However, the IRS expects to issue refunds for electronically filed returns within 21 days, irrespective of when filed unless the refunds are held for some other reason.
An exception to the refund schedule is that refunds for early returns showing Earned Income Tax Credits or the Additional Child Tax Credit will be held until February 15th before being sent. The purpose for this delay is to allow time for the IRS to match amounts shown on the return with amounts shown on information returns (like Form W-2) that may not be received by the IRS until early February. In prior years, exploiting this mismatch of when Form 1040 can be filed versus when information returns are received from employers and banks has been a major source of fraudulent returns, refund fraud, and identity theft.
As always, let us know if you have any questions.