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Tax Day 2019: What to expect when filing IRS tax return, due April 15



Steve Mnuchin
Tax Day is April


  • Tax
    , the last day to file your 2018 tax return, is Monday,
    April 15, 2019.
  • Tax
    typically arrive within three weeks of filing, and
    the IRS recommends receiving it via direct deposit.
  • The new tax law is in effect, so
    there are a few changes to be aware of when filing your

The deadline to submit your tax return in 2019 — or file an extension with the IRS
— is Monday, April 15. 

The new tax law is in effect, so
there are a few changes to be aware of when filing your taxes.

Here’s what to expect when you submit your tax
this year. 

You can file your taxes for free if you know where to look

Many online tax services allow you to file your federal taxes for
— and sometimes state taxes as well — if your income was
less than $66,000 in 2018. You can check your options using the
IRS Free File lookup.

You can also download the IRS2Go app to find free tax-filing assistance,
check your refund status, or make a payment.

You can still file for free if you make more than $66,000, but to
do so, you’ll need to use the Free File Fillable Forms. The
IRS recommends using those forms only if you have experience
preparing tax returns on your own.

You should receive all of your tax documents by early February

Before you file your taxes, you need to collect all your 2018 tax
documents. If you’re an employee, that means your W-2; if you’re
a freelancer, you may have multiple 1099 forms. In some cases,
you may have other statements, such as income earned from an
interest-bearing savings account or interest paid on a loan, or
even taxable bitcoin gains.

Most tax-related documents must be filed by your employer or
other institution by January 31, and the statements must be
postmarked by that date as well. That means you should have
received everything you need by early February. 

In the meantime, you can estimate your tax refund for this year
using an online tax calculator.

Withholding tables changed under the new tax law and you may get
a smaller refund

Your tax situation can change over time — for example, if you get
married, buy a home, or have a child — so it’s always a good idea
to review your W-4 tax-withholding
at the start of a new year. With the new tax law this
year, it’s even more important.

President Donald Trump changed the US tax code for the first time
in 30 years when he signed the Republican tax bill
into law
in December 2017. The changes — including new tax brackets and modified
tax deductions — went into effect on January 1,
. Employees should have noticed a difference in their
take-home pay

Read more:
Here’s a look at what the new income tax brackets mean for every
type of US taxpayer this year

The IRS says it has worked with payroll providers to make the
change as seamless as possible for
, but refunds may be different for some taxpayers
this year and some may owe an unexpected tax bill if they didn’t
review and adjust their withholding,
according to the IRS

Some tax deductions have changed under the new law as well. The
standard deduction will nearly double and some itemized
deductions have changed. You can see a
full list of changes on the IRS website

The IRS recommends e-filing and choosing direct deposit

The IRS says the fastest way to get your tax
is the method already used by most taxpayers: filing
electronically and selecting direct deposit as the method for
receiving your refund.

The IRS says direct deposit — which the government also uses for
Social Security and Veterans Affairs payments — is “simple, safe, and secure.”

Popular online tax services like TurboTax and H&R Block are easy to use,
even for tax novices — but they aren’t the only option for
e-filing your taxes for free.
If you plan to visit an accountant, make an appointment early to
avoid the rush.

You should receive your tax refund within 21 days of filing

In 2018, Americans have received tax
worth more than $324 billion, with an average refund
of $2,899, according to the IRS.

Your tax refund should hit your
bank account within three weeks of filing online, assuming you
opt to receive it via direct deposit. Often, you’ll get your
money even faster.

rich people boat champagne
You should receive your tax refund within three weeks
of filing online.


You can check the status of your tax refund using the IRS’s return-tracking service
24 hours after filing your tax return online or four weeks after
mailing a return.

If you owe taxes, you don’t have to pay all at once

Regardless of when you file your tax return, your 2018 tax bill
is due April 15. You can file early and schedule a payment for
that day (or anytime before) if you aren’t quite ready to pay.

But, if you can’t afford to pay your tax bill in full, don’t pull
out your credit card or ignore the situation. The IRS offers
reasonable payment plans at
much lower interest rates than most banks. You may even be able
to settle the bill for less than you owe, called an offer in compromise, or request a deferment until you
can make a payment.

Keep copies of your old tax returns for at least 3 years

You don’t have to save your tax returns forever. The IRS
recommends holding onto copies for at least three years — the
typical length of time the IRS would look back if you happen to get audited.

Most audits cover returns filed over the past two years, but the
IRS can go back further if the situation calls for it. But audits
shouldn’t be cause for worry for most taxpayers. Fewer than 1% of
tax returns are audited by the IRS.

When you dispose of old tax returns, make sure to properly shred
the documents to protect against identity

What to do if you’ve been a victim of tax fraud

Tax season presents plenty of opportunity for would-be identity
thieves. A stolen Social Security number can be used to file a
fraudulent tax return and refund request, but it’s not the only
tax scam out there. The IRS
keeps track of the most common tax-related
, and the list is long and varied.

how to file your taxes
The IRS doesn’t call taxpayers — if they need to reach
you, they send a letter.

Joe Raedle /

The best way to protect against tax scams
especially potential identity theft — is to file
your tax return as soon as possible.

If you think you are a victim of identity theft or tax
, you should report it to the Treasury
Inspector General for Tax Administration. The IRS also has
detailed instructions on what to do if you are a victim of
tax fraud

The US Department of Justice says the IRS never
discusses personal tax issues
through unsolicited emails or
texts, or over social media. Be wary if you are contacted by
someone claiming to be from the IRS who says you owe money. When
the IRS needs to get in touch with a taxpayer, standard practice
is to send a letter via the US Postal
. If you receive an unexpected and suspicious email
from the IRS, forward it to
[email protected]

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