Many taxpayers, especially college students, look forward to receiving an income tax refund when they file their tax return. However, the tax news out of Washington predicts delays in sending refunds this tax year.
Reasons for the delay include holidays and antifraud measures instituted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Current issues related to income tax law and enforcement procedures provide thousands of possible research paper topics.
2017 income tax changes
Usually, income tax returns are due by April 15. However, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, the deadline this year will be April 18, 2017. This isn’t the only reason why refunds will be delayed, according to Erin Arvedlund. In her January 9, 2017, post for Philly.com, “Tax season open Jan. 23 – and some refunds may be delayed,” Arvedlund described changes that will affect refund processing.
In addition to the President’s Day holiday in February, antifraud measures instituted by the IRS will cause many refunds to be delayed.
“Anyone who claims the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit will likely have their refund held until at least Feb. 15,” Arvedlund said.
Because of an increase in cases of identity fraud, the IRS has added layers of compliance in preparing a tax return that are meant to verify the filer’s identity. One such measure will be required of those who file their return electronically. They will be asked to provide their 2015 adjusted gross income figure.
Getting your refund
According to the IRS, choosing to e-file and direct deposit for an income tax refund is still the fastest and safest way to file a tax return and get your refund. Those who wish to file on paper can download free fillable forms from IRS.gov.
Free tax preparation software, Free File, is available from the Free File Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of leading software companies that partners with the IRS to provide free electronic tax services. The IRS Free File program opens Friday, January 13, 2017.
Tax-related identity theft
The IRS has provided a “Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft” for the public.
According to the guide, “Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number (SSN) to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. You may be unaware that this has happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your SSN. Or, the IRS may send you a letter saying we have identified a suspicious return using your SSN.”
Criminals can gain access to a taxpayer’s Social Security number through data breaches, hacking and phishing. The IRS guide contains information about reporting identity theft and steps one can take if they have been a victim.
Follow the news
Issues related to federal income tax law are in constant change. A good resource for information on subjects related to these issues is at Questia. Not only will you find millions of books, journals and encyclopedias, you will find newspapers and magazines that cover a wide range of topics in the news.
An example of the type of resource one could find is the article, “Take Steps to Prevent Identity Theft,” from The Buffalo News, February 15, 2016.
The article began with a recap of the experience of Crystal, a woman whose identity was stolen in 2014 and who feared that her 2015 tax return could be compromised.
“A spokesman for the IRS said that taxpayers whose identities were used to file fraudulent returns generally will be eligible for the special PIN after their cases have been resolved. This year, the IRS sent 2.7 million taxpayers IP PINs,” the article stated.
Browse millions of resources by category or type of publication at Questia.
Do you know someone who has had to deal with identity theft? Tell us how they resolved it in the comments.