In an effort to reduce the amount of money paid to identity thieves who file fraudulent returns, the IRS will be implementing changes in the timing and way they handle the processing of tax returns.
These steps will continue to evolve, but recent changes will impact millions who depend on receiving an early refund.
Earlier filing of form W-2s and 1099-MISC – The timing required to send these forms to employees and vendors remains the end of January. However, the extended deadline for filing the electronic version of these forms to the IRS and Social Security Administration is now a full month earlier. This is done to allow the IRS to match records with early filed tax returns. The prior timing gap was ideal for thieves to file fraudulent tax returns.
Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit – If you file a tax return that contains either of these credits, do not expect to receive an early refund. The IRS has been mandated to hold these refund payments until February 15th or later. Given the payment backlog this will create, it is still important to file early to get your refund in the queue.
Begin planning now to be prepared for these upcoming changes. Rest assured, we can all look forward to further changes as the IRS continues to address the multi-billion dollar identity theft problem plaguing the Agency.