FAQ: Why is Tax Day April 17 this year? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

FAQ: Why is Tax Day April 17 this year?

The federal tax filing deadline is April 17, not April 15. (Source: Pixabay) The federal tax filing deadline is April 17, not April 15. (Source: Pixabay)

(RNN) - Tax Day is coming. This year it's Tuesday, April 17.

If you're scratching your head. Yes, typically, the tax filing deadline is April 15. But because in 2018 that date is on a Sunday, Tax Day has been pushed back.

So why not April 16 then?

That Monday is a holiday in the District of Columbia. It's Emancipation Day - the day President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act in 1862, freeing over 3,000 slaves in DC.

Of course, Tax Day is the deadline for most Americans to pay their federal taxes.

Many folks this year will see some additional cash in their pockets.

Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 in February, providing a range of tax cuts to businesses and individuals.

Q: How did April 15 become the tax deadline?

A: The Sixteenth Amendment made the U.S. income tax system legal in 1913. The tax filing deadline started on March 1, but was shifted to March 15 in 1918 and finally to April 15 in 1955.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration - Sixteenth Amendment

Q: What if you're not confident in doing your taxes? 

A: Filing electronically will help avoid many common errors.

"In 2017, more than 132 million individual and family tax returns were e-filed, the most accurate, safest and easiest way to file," the IRS said. "More than 16 million were prepared on a computer and printed or prepared by hand, then mailed."

Seven out of 10 taxpayers can use IRS Free File software at no cost, according to the IRS.

Q: Not sure if you need to file?

A: The IRS provides an online interview to help people determine whether they are legally required to file federal tax returns. In general, people must file a tax return if they had gross income of more than $10,000 as a single filer or more than $20,000 as a married couple filing jointly. 

Q: If you can't file your 2017 tax return by April 17, what should you do?

A: Free File lets you request an extension, but be sure to pay your taxes by April 17 to avoid penalty or interest charges. To use Free File, your income can't exceed $66,000.

Some people in the military qualify for automatic filing and paying extensions. Those serving must be stationed abroad or in a combat zone during the tax filing season. 

Q: How quickly will you get your refund?

A: Most refunds that are complete and without errors are issued within 21 calendar days, but your refund may take longer. The IRS says that's how long it takes for your refund either to be mailed or to be posted to your account by your financial institution.   

Q: Where can I get free tax return preparation?

A: IRS-certified volunteers help qualifying taxpayers through two programs: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program.

VITA serves people who make $54,000 or less, people with disabilities and people with limited English ability. TCE focuses on helping taxpayers who are 60 years of age and older. To find VITA and TCE sites, either phone 800-906-9887 or use the locator tool at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep

At more than 5,000 locations nationwide, the AARP, the lobbying group for older Americans, offers free tax preparation for low-to-moderate income taxpayers who are 60 and older. 

Q: What forms should you have before filing tax returns?

A: Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement from employers; Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income from banks and other payers; and FORM 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement. 

Q: Does the IRS offer tax relief for disaster victims? 

A: Yes. Victims of flooding, hurricanes, severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and wildfires can get such information on the IRS site at Tax Relief in Disaster Situations

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 includes specific tax benefits for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Q: Does the IRS offer other tools and information?

A: Information on the site includes tips for choosing a tax preparer, getting help with identify theft and checking on the status of refunds

The IRS addresses other commonly asked questions in an FAQ that touches on such topics as ways to notify the IRS of address changes, the age limit on claiming a child as a dependent, what is a split refund and tax changes for this year. 

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