When Can You Begin Filing 2016 Taxes?

Filing taxes is an annual requirement for individuals and businesses alike. Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) establishes a specific date when taxpayers can begin filing their tax returns for the previous year. For the tax year 2016, there are important dates and guidelines to keep in mind.

The official start date for filing 2016 taxes is typically January 1st of the following year. However, the IRS usually begins accepting tax returns a few weeks later, giving them time to update their systems and forms to reflect any changes in tax laws. For the tax year 2016, the IRS started accepting tax returns on January 23, 2017.

This start date applies to both electronic and paper tax returns. Electronic filing is the preferred method as it is faster, more accurate, and generally results in quicker refunds. Taxpayers can use various software programs or hire a tax professional to file their returns electronically. If you prefer to file a paper return, you can still do so, but it may take longer to process and receive any potential refund.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Do I have to file my taxes on January 23rd?
No, the start date is simply the earliest date the IRS begins accepting tax returns. You can file anytime after that, as long as you meet the tax filing deadline, which is usually April 15th.

2. Can I file my taxes before January 23rd?
You can prepare your tax return before the start date, but you will have to wait until January 23rd to officially file it with the IRS.

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3. What if I miss the tax filing deadline?
If you miss the tax filing deadline, you can request an extension by filing Form 4868. This will give you an additional six months to file your tax return, but any taxes owed must still be paid by the original deadline.

4. Can I file my taxes for free?
Yes, there are options available for taxpayers with simple tax situations. The IRS offers Free File, which allows eligible individuals to use free tax software provided by commercial partners.

5. When will I receive my tax refund?
The timing of your tax refund depends on various factors, such as how you filed your return (electronically or by mail) and if you chose direct deposit or a paper check. Typically, refunds are issued within 21 days of filing, but it may take longer if there are errors or additional reviews needed.

6. What if I owe taxes and can’t pay in full?
If you cannot pay your taxes in full, it is still crucial to file your return on time to avoid penalties. You can request a payment plan or make an offer in compromise to settle your tax debt.

7. Can I claim a refund for previous years?
Yes, you can usually claim a refund for up to three years after the original due date of the tax return. However, refunds older than that may be forfeited.

8. What if I need help filing my taxes?
If you need assistance with filing your taxes, you can consider hiring a tax professional or using IRS resources such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax help to eligible individuals.

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In conclusion, the official start date for filing 2016 taxes was January 23, 2017. Taxpayers can file their returns anytime after this date, taking into account the tax filing deadline, which is usually April 15th. It is important to stay informed about the IRS guidelines and seek assistance if needed to ensure a smooth tax filing process.

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