IRS Announces that 2016 Filing Season Begins on January 23, 2017
The IRS notified taxpayers and practitioners that the 2017 individual income tax filing season (for 2016 Forms 1040) will open on January 23, 2017. Because Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington, D.C., will be observed on Monday, April 17, the normal filing deadline will be pushed back to Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
The 2017 individual income tax filing season (for 2016 Forms 1040) will open on Monday, January 23, 2017 (News Release IR-2017-1). The IRS expects more than 153 million tax returns to be filed in 2017. More than four out of five returns are expected to be filed electronically, with a similar proportion of refunds issued through direct deposit.
While 2016 tax returns will not be processed before January 23, 2017, taxpayers who are e-filing can still submit returns to their software provider before that date, in which case the provider will hold the returns and transmit them to the IRS when the IRS's processing systems open. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they don't have to wait until January 23 to contact their tax professional.
Observation: As a practical matter, most taxpayers will have to wait until they receive one or more Forms W-2 and/or 1099 before they can prepare and file their return. While the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) revised the deadline for filing Form W-2 and certain types of Forms 1099 with the IRS, the revised deadline also affects the Form W-2 copy filed with the Social Security Administration. The deadline for providing electronic or paper Forms W-2 to employees, and for providing Forms 1099 to payees (including recipients of nonemployee compensation), remains January 31; specifically, Tuesday, January 31, 2017, for 2016 forms.
Filing Deadline Pushed back for Emancipation Day
According to Reg. Sec. 301.7503-1, when the deadline for filing tax returns or paying tax falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the deadline is delayed until the next business day. For this purpose, the term "legal holiday" means legal holidays in the District of Columbia.
Paper tax returns are treated as timely filed if the envelope is properly addressed, postmarked, and deposited in the mail by the due date. Electronically filed tax returns are not considered filed until the IRS acknowledges acceptance of the electronic portion of the tax return for processing. The IRS accepts individual income tax returns electronically only if the taxpayer signs the return using a Personal Identification Number (PIN). If the provider transmits the electronic portion of a return on or shortly before the due date, and the IRS rejects it but the provider and the taxpayer comply with the requirements for timely resubmission of a correct return, the IRS considers the return timely filed.
April 15 falls on a Saturday in 2017, and while Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia is Sunday, April 16, 2017, it will be observed on Monday, April 17, 2017. This in means that taxpayers will have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017, to file their 2016 tax returns and pay any tax due.
Delayed Receipt of Some Tax Refunds
In 2016, the IRS issued 111 million individual tax refunds, and the IRS expects more than 70 percent of taxpayers to receive a refund in 2017. However, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. This additional period is due to several factors, including banking and financial systems needing time to process deposits, as well as the IRS confirming the identities and wages and withholdings of those claiming the credit.
While the IRS will begin releasing EITC and ACTC refunds on February 15, it cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of February 27. The IRS wants taxpayers to know it will take additional time for their refunds to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to their bank account. Furthermore, many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For example, the President's Day holiday weekend may affect the receipt of the taxpayer's refund.
Where's My Refund? irs.gov and the IRS2Go phone app will be updated with projected deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers a few days after February 15. Taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where's My Refund? through their software packages until then. The IRS, return preparers, and software providers will not have additional information on refund dates, so Where's My Refund? remains the best way to check on the status of a refund.
Form 1065 Filing Deadline One Month Earlier in 2017
The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 made an important change to the due date for partnership tax returns, effective for tax years beginning after 2015. Now, partnerships are required to file their returns by the 15th day of the third month following the close of a tax year. For calendar year partnerships, the due date for the 2016 Form 1065 will be March 15, 2017, instead of April 15. The Act did not change the filing deadlines for S corporation returns, which means that partnership and S corporation returns share the same due date.
The March 15 deadline for calendar year partnerships and multi-member LLCs taxed as partnerships should make it a little easier for individuals who are partners or LLC members to file their tax return by (or soon after) the April 18, 2017, filing deadline.