File electronically to see a quicker turnaround
By Peter White | Ethnic Media Services
Barely three weeks after the start of this year’s tax filing season, the IRS had received 19 million tax returns, processed 16.8 million of them, and issued eight million refunds each averaging $1,963.
The message — IRS Deputy Commissioner Kevin Moorehead told reporters on an Ethnic Media Services conference call last week — is to file your returns sooner rather than later, and do it electronically. Ask that refunds be wired directly into your bank account. The IRS turn-around time will be a lot faster.
The reason is that the Inflation Reduction Act put $80 billion in the IRS bank account to hire 5,000 more telephone assistants and to add more Taxpayer Assistance Centers around the country where you can go for free help to file your taxes.
“We expect more than 168 million individual tax returns to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming in before April 18, the tax deadline date,” Moorehead said.
Although refunds are expected to be somewhat smaller this year because the covid economic impact payments have ended, Moorehead advised people to file a 2022 return even if you don’t owe taxes.
“While people with income under a certain amount are not generally required to file a tax return, those who qualify for certain tax credits or already paid some federal tax by having taxes withheld from their paycheck may qualify for a tax refund, but they must file in order to get one,” Moorehead said.
Don’t leave money on the table, agreed Sue Simon, director of IRS Customer Assistance.
“What we want to do is ensure that anyone who has not filed a 2021 tax return do so,” she said.
But in order to collect unpaid benefits, one has to file both a 2021 and a 2022 return. However when filling out these returns, either electronically or by paper, Simon said it is imperative that filers put “Zero” as the amount of their adjusted gross income. Then IRS computers can digest that information and by filing for both years, technical errors can be avoided.
The IRS won’t call individuals, but residents can call the IRS on toll free phone lines and get assistance in one of 350 languages. Simon said interpreter services are also available in any of IRS’s 362 taxpayer assistance centers via their telephones.
“There are forms that are commonly used by taxpayers that are available in Spanish, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Haitian, Creole, Vietnamese and Russian,” Simon said.
There are online tools at IRS.gov to help people determine if they are eligible for EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit), a Sales Tax Deduction Calculator to determine how much sales tax is allowed as a deduction in their state.
Also. there is the Free File Online Lookup tool that helps taxpayers find the right company to file their tax return under the Free File program. Go to IRS.gov and search the Pick List. There is also a tax withholding estimator tool.
“All of those are available in English as well as those languages that I listed,” she said.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) provides help and counseling to taxpayers, free of charge, especially about EITC and additional Child Tax credits.