IRS Announces FreeFile To Open Today. IRS Forms Available
The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, will open today (Friday, January 16, 2015). With FreeFile, taxpayers with income below $60,000 have access to free tax prep software. Taxpayers with income above $60,000 have access to fillable, electronic versions of the paper IRS forms.
Additionally, some tax preparers have advertised that they are now preparing taxpayer returns. And yes, you can submit your information early to your tax preparer. Some tax preparers – and software companies – accept information early and hold tax returns until the IRS systems open for processing.
Early submission assumes you have your complete tax information. That includes your forms W-2, 1099 and 1098 (keep in mind that your employer, bank and financial institutions are under no obligation to send those early). The IRS makes it clear that preparers who e-file are prohibited from submitting returns when you don’t have all of your forms – paycheck stubs don’t count. And filing with the correct forms will help you avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return later.
But if you have your return prepared today – or tomorrow – does that mean your refund will be issued faster?
Nope. The tax season for individual taxpayers still opens on January 20, 2015. When your return is actually prepared doesn’t matter: the IRS will begin accepting and processing all tax returns on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. Quoting from the IRS release just today:
The IRS will begin accepting and processing all returns – whether e-file, Free File or paper tax returns — on Jan. 20.
IRS Commissioner Koskinen urged those taxpayers seeking a refund to file electronically, saying, “It’s fast, accurate and the best way to get your refund quickly.” Statistically, e-file, when combined with direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund. IRS Forms 2015 Available.
The IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds within 21 days. The fastest way to get your refund is to e-file and have your refund issued via direct deposit. You can still file a paper return but you should expect delays of at least one week over normal processing times. Paper returns are generally processed within six weeks of filing; with the current crunch on resources, the Commissioner has indicated that taxpayers who file paper returns can expect their refunds to be issued in seven weeks or more.