Are you ready for tax season?

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Tax season is less than two weeks away, meaning many people can look forward to having a few extra dollars in their pockets.

Tax filing officially begins on January 19. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) expects to receive more than 150 million tax returns this year, with about four out of five returns being prepared electronically.

Once tax season begins, the goal is to get them done as quickly and correctly as possible, according to Andrew Reigstad, owner of Tax 29, a Youngstown tax preparation service.

Reigstad said he understands that many people want to get money back as soon as possible.

“We try to do the best we can, but we got to get all the numbers entered in right,” he said. “We focus on the person sitting in front of us. We are mindful, and we want to move efficiently.”

The government says there is no advantage to people filing tax returns on paper earlier in January instead of waiting for e-file to begin. Reigstad said you want to take your time to make sure that you make no mistakes.

“Missing very easy deductions, education credits, child credits, all sorts of things like this, it’s not worth it to save a few bucks to lose thousands of dollars. Some of those you see going back years. You can only go back three years to amend, to try to fix those problems,” he said.

There could be penalties for putting the wrong information down when filing. Not only will you have to pay that money back, but in some cases, it can lead to charges being filed.

Reigstad said the IRS requires tax preparers to ask more questions, especially on credits for children — an area where there can be fraud. When there are discrepancies on your taxes, you could miss out on thousands of dollars in the future if you cannot provide proof.

“They may not be able to claim a credit. The earned income credit for 10 years,” he said. “Also, if there’s a dispute between parents, they may ask for some more information, school records, doctor records, to verify where the child is actually living.”

There is one advantage for all taxpayers this year. The April deadline has been extended a bit due to Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C. on April 15.

“It extends across the country, so April 15 is on a Friday, but they’re going to extend it to April 18 because of that holiday,” Reigstad said.

The IRS says choosing to electronically file and get direct deposit for refunds is the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.

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