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Monday December 18, 2017

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Tax Filing Season Opens

On January 23, 2017, the IRS announced it is opening the 2017 tax filing season. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated, "Getting to this point is a year-round effort for the IRS and the nation's tax community. The dedicated employees of the IRS look forward to serving taxpayers this filing season, and I want to thank all the tax and payroll community for their hard work that makes tax time smoother for the nation."

This week the IRS published two reminders on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In IR-2017-8 the Service encouraged those in rural areas to file and claim EITC.

Many employees and business or farm owners in rural areas have lower earned income. For the 2016 tax year, those with incomes up to $53,505 may qualify for the EITC. The maximum potential refund is $6,269 if you are a working family with qualifying children. The average EITC is expected to be $2,400.

To benefit from the EITC, you must file a tax return. Even if you do not owe tax, you may file a tax return and benefit from the refundable credit. You can use the IRS Free File program to complete your return without any cost.

A second letter focused on EITC potential benefits for those persons with disabilities. While the EITC is based on earned income, many taxpayers retire on disability. If the employer's disability plan pays taxable income, they still may qualify for the EITC.

A concern of individuals with disabilities is that they may be receiving Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid or Food Stamps. The IRS letter emphasizes that tax refunds, including EITC amounts, are not counted as income for purposes of these programs. This rule protecting those on disability applies to all federal programs and any state program with federal funding.

There may be a delay in some refunds for taxpayers who claim the EITC. Congress requires the IRS to hold all EITC refunds until the middle of February to provide time for additional review. For tax returns with EITC refunds, it is likely the payments will be made the week of February 27, 2017.

The IRS also has announced EITC Awareness Day on Friday, January 27, 2017. The IRS will publicize EITC Awareness Day on www.irs.gov and social media.

Published January 27, 2017
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