2016 Tax season opens: What’s new when you file this year?

RICHMOND (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Taxation says its individual income tax filing season is open. Tuesday’s starting date coordinates with the start of the federal tax filing season. The deadline to file 2015 Virginia tax returns is May 2.

The IRS expects more than 150 million Americans to file their tax returns in the next few months, and more than 70 percent of them can expect to receive a refund this year. Last year, the average refund was about $2,800.Taxpayers without health insurance will face larger penalties, and those insured by their employers will get a new tax form. There also have been adjustments for inflation, and Congress extended expiring tax breaks, some permanently.

Military service members and their families can get free financial counseling and online tax filing through the Defense Department’s Military OneSource program.

Individuals and families who made less than $62,000 can save money by using IRS Free File for their federal tax returns. Taxpayers who made more can still fill out the forms electronically for free.

Taxpayers increasingly are choosing to file electronically.Electronic filing was up 2.4 percent in 2015 from 2014. Similarly, the use of direct deposit for refund checks also is gaining in popularity. Last year, more than 86 million tax refunds were paid through direct deposit, up 2.7 percent over 2014.

Virginia tax officials say they are more carefully reviewing all returns to protect against identity theft and tax refund fraud, so it may take longer to receive refunds than in past years. They recommend that taxpayers file electronically and choose to receive refunds by direct deposit rather than by check.Taxpayers should know that the IRS “does not initiate contact by email to request personal or financial information,” the agency emphasizes on its website. If your identity is stolen, resolving the issue can take months.

Comments are closed.