When to Start Filing 2016 Taxes

Filing taxes can be a daunting task for many individuals, and knowing when to start the process is crucial. The deadline for filing taxes for the year 2016 is usually April 15th of the following year. However, there are several factors to consider when deciding the appropriate time to begin filing taxes. This article will discuss when to start filing 2016 taxes and address some frequently asked questions regarding the process.

1. When should I start gathering my tax documents?
It is advisable to start gathering your tax documents as soon as possible. These documents include W-2 forms from employers, 1099 forms for any additional income, and any other relevant financial records. Starting early will ensure you have all the necessary information when you are ready to file.

2. Can I file my taxes before receiving all my tax documents?
You can start preparing your tax return using estimates of your income and deductions. However, it is essential to wait until you have all your tax documents to file an accurate tax return. Filing before receiving all the necessary documents may result in errors or potential audits.

3. Is it better to file taxes early or wait until closer to the deadline?
The answer to this question depends on personal circumstances. If you expect a tax refund, it is generally advantageous to file early to receive your refund sooner. However, if you owe taxes, waiting until closer to the deadline can give you more time to gather funds for payment.

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4. Can I file an extension if I am not ready to file by the deadline?
Yes, you can file for a tax extension using IRS Form 4868. This will give you an additional six months to file your tax return. However, it is important to note that an extension only extends the time to file, not the time to pay any taxes owed. Late payment penalties and interest may still apply.

5. Should I use tax software or hire a professional?
The choice between using tax software or hiring a professional depends on your comfort level and complexity of your tax situation. Tax software is generally suitable for individuals with straightforward tax returns, while a professional may be necessary for those with more complex financial situations.

6. How long does it take to receive my tax refund?
The IRS typically issues tax refunds within 21 days of receiving a tax return. However, this timeframe can vary depending on various factors, such as the method of filing (e-file or paper), accuracy of the return, and any delays caused by errors or additional reviews.

7. What if I miss the tax filing deadline?
If you miss the tax filing deadline without obtaining an extension, you may be subject to late filing penalties and interest on any taxes owed. It is crucial to file as soon as possible to minimize these penalties.

8. Can I amend my tax return if I make a mistake?
Yes, if you discover that you made an error or forgot to include certain information on your tax return, you can file an amended tax return using Form 1040X. It is essential to correct any mistakes promptly to avoid potential penalties or audits.

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In conclusion, it is advisable to start gathering tax documents as soon as possible to ensure a smooth tax filing process. Whether you choose to file early or wait until closer to the deadline depends on personal circumstances. Using tax software or hiring a professional is a decision that should be made based on the complexity of your tax situation. Remember, if you need more time to file, you can always request a tax extension.

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