Salem, OR—Tax season kicks off today, and you may be wondering how to make this time of year less daunting. Fortunately, there are several things you can do.
Mark your calendar for Tax Day 2017: April 18.
The usual tax-filing deadline of April 15 falls on a Saturday in 2017, and a holiday observed by the IRS in the District of Columbia means the federal filing deadline is April 18. Filing later in the season, especially if it's on or near the deadline when many other returns are received, means your return will take longer to process and your refund may take longer. So don't procrastinate.
File now, if you have all needed documents.
Both the IRS and Oregon Department of Revenue process returns in the order they're received, so filing your return as soon as you're ready will put you closer to the head of the line for refunds. But, wait until you have all of the tax documentation that you need. Filing your return without a W-2 or other required document makes it more likely your return will need manual review. That means it will take longer to process than if you waited and submitted a complete return. Whether it's now or later, e-filing and asking for direct deposit is the quickest path to getting your refund.
Review your preparation and filing options.
Revenue's website identifies several providers of free online tax preparation software and e-filing services for taxpayers who meet the vendor's eligibility requirements. All Oregon residents qualify for free e-filing through Oregon FreeFile, but Oregon FreeFile doesn't help prepare your return. You can learn more about all your options by looking for approved vendors at www.oregon.gov/dor/e-filing.
Make sure you start your return from Revenue's website to ensure free filing.
Look for free tax assistance in your community.
AARP's Tax-Aide program and Creating Assets, Savings and Hope (CASH) Oregon offer free, in-person assistance to taxpayers at sites across the state. They can help with both preparing your return and e-filing it. For more information about their services and service locations, look for “free tax preparation” at www.oregon.gov/dor/e-filing.
Make sure your tax preparer is properly licensed.
If you plan to have someone prepare your tax returns for you, make sure that person is properly licensed. In Oregon, anyone getting paid to prepare and file tax returns must have an active tax preparer or certified public accountant (CPA) license. Visit these websites to find out if the person you want to hire has an active license:
• The Oregon Board of Tax Practitioners for tax preparers: www.oregon.gov/obtp.
• The Oregon Board of Accountancy for Oregon CPAs: www.oregon.gov/boa.
• For out-of-state CPAs: www.cpaverify.org.
You can report unlicensed tax preparers to the Board of Tax Practitioners.
Contacting the Department of Revenue
You can visit www.oregon.gov/dor
to get forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments. You can call (503) 378-4988 or (800) 356-4222 (toll-free) or email email@example.com
for additional assistance. For TTY for hearing- or speech-impaired, call (800) 886-7204. During peak calling times, you may experience an extended wait.
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Bob Estabrook, public information officer (PIO)
Joy Krawczyk, PIO