It’s Tax-Filing Season. What You Need to Know About This Year’s Forms

Monday marks the start of income tax filing season, and the Internal Revenue Service is ready to accept your returns.

This is the first tax filing after last year’s tax code overhaul, which removed many potential itemized deductions but increased the standard deduction. CPA Geoffrey Harlow says whether or not the overhaul was a win for you depends upon your personal situation – and says that a CPA or tax filing software is the best way to navigate all the changes. And, Harlow says people making less than $66,000 should consider using the IRS’ online Free File software.

“It’s a wonderful resource and many people just don’t take advantage of it,” said Harlow, who is a partner in the accounting firm Wipfli and vice chair of the Illinois CPA Society’s Board of Directors.

Certified financial planner Sean Sebold says when getting ready to file, it’s important to accurately assemble all your documents – since many of the forms are now sent electronically, we don’t have the physical reminder of a piece of mail. But as people begin the filing process, the lingering effects of the government shutdown and the prospect of another one might make you wonder whether your return will be processed on time and your refund sent quickly.

“There are roughly 150 million filings each year and on average people get about $3,000 back,” Sebold said. “If people don’t get their refunds, that can have a significant impact on the economy.”

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