MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -It’s time to start thinking about your 2020 tax returns. While the IRS won’t officially start processing them until Feb 12th, the government urges taxpayers to start gathering their documents now and get an early start.
“You can start doing them. If you use IRS free file, or if you use any software company,” Alejandra Castro with IRS explained.
Castro said it’s a good idea to get your returns done ahead of time.
“Taxpayers can go to irs.gov/freefile, and they’ll find one of nine software companies and they’ll choose which one they’re eligible to use,” Castro said. “Now, once that happens, the IRS the software companies will hold those tax returns until the official start, and then they’ll push them to our systems. And we can go ahead and process them. "
The sooner you file, the quicker your refund comes.
“The average time for a refund to go back to a taxpayer if they choose direct deposit and if they file electronically is about 21 days or less,” said Castro.
The IRS knows money is tight for most Americans right now, and many may consider waiting to file. Castro says that’s a bad idea. It’s best to file early, even if you owe, and set up a payment plan.
“The IRS is always willing to work with taxpayers who are in a tight financial situation,” Castro said. “Maybe taxpayers are scared to file their taxes because they feel they won’t be able to pay what they owe. Well, we do have payment plans available. And we always work with taxpayers. But we encourage everybody to file timely to avoid interest and penalties.”
If you choose to hire someone else to prepare your taxes, do your research.
“Never go with tax preparers that you ask them all. How much are you going to charge me, and they’ll say, ‘Well, let me see what refund you’re gonna get’ Or ‘Oh, I could get you the largest refund,’” Castro warned.
Castro said those are red flags. Find someone reputable, someone trustworthy, somebody that’s been in the industry for a while,” Castro warned.
The deadline to file your tax returns is April 15th.