IRS opened 2020 filing season for individual filers on Jan. 27

The Internal Revenue Service confirmed that the nation’s tax season will start for individual tax return filers on Monday, January 27, 2020, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2019 tax year returns.

The deadline to file 2019 tax returns and pay any tax owed is Wednesday, April 15, 2020. More than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2019 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the traditional April tax deadline.

“As we enter the filing season, taxpayers should know that the dedicated workforce of the IRS stands ready to help,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We encourage taxpayers to plan ahead and use the tools and information available on IRS.gov. The IRS and the nation’s tax community are committed to making this another smooth filing season.”

The IRS set the January 27 opening date to ensure the security and readiness of key tax processing systems and to address the potential impact of recent tax legislation on 2019 tax returns.

While taxpayers may prepare returns through the IRS’ Free File program as well as many tax software companies and tax professionals before the start date, processing of those returns will begin after IRS systems open later this month.

“The IRS encourages everyone to consider filing electronically and choosing direct deposit,” Rettig said. “It’s fast, accurate and the best way to get your refund as quickly as possible.”

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Filing electronically flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information. Taxpayers can get free help preparing and filing taxes through IRS Free File online or free tax help from trained volunteers at community sites around the country. The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they don’t have to wait until January 27 to start their tax return or contact a reputable tax preparer.

In addition, IRS tax help is available 24 hours a day on IRS.gov, the official IRS website, where people can find answers to tax questions and resolve tax issues online. The Let Us Help You page helps answer most tax questions, and the IRS Services Guide (PDF) links to these and other IRS services.

New Form 1040-SR, alternative filing option available for seniors

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service wants seniors to know about the availability of a new tax form, Form 1040-SR, featuring larger print and a standard deduction chart with a goal of making it easier for older Americans to read and use.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 required the IRS to create a tax form for seniors. Taxpayers age 65 or older now have the option to use Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors. Form 1040-SR, when printed, features larger font and better readability.

Taxpayers who electronically file Form 1040-SR may notice the change when they print their return. More than 90% of taxpayers now use tax software to prepare and file their tax return.

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Taxpayers born before January 2, 1955, have the option to file Form 1040-SR whether they are working, not working or retired. The form allows income reporting from other sources common to seniors such as investment income, Social Security and distributions from qualified retirement plans, annuities or similar deferred-payment arrangements.

Seniors can use Form 1040-SR to file their 2019 federal income tax return, which is due April 15, 2020. All lines and checkboxes on Form 1040-SR mirror the Form 1040, and both forms use all the same attached schedules and forms. The revised 2019 Instructions cover both Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.

Eligible taxpayers can use Form 1040-SR whether they plan to itemize or take the standard deduction. Taxpayers who itemize deductions can file Form 1040-SR with a Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, when filing their return. For those taking the standard deduction, Form 1040-SR includes a chart listing the standard deduction amounts, making it easier to calculate. It also ensures seniors are aware of the increased standard deduction for taxpayers age 65 and older.

Married people filing a joint return can use the Form 1040-SR regardless of whether one or both spouses are age 65 or older or retired.

Both the 1040 and the 1040-SR use the same “building block” approach introduced last year that can be supplemented with additional Schedules 1, 2 and 3 as needed. Many taxpayers with basic tax situations can file Form 1040 or 1040-SR with no additional schedules.