Internal Revenue Services begins processing tax returns

Consumer Report

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you are one of those who likes to file taxes early, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says it’s ready.

The IRS began processing forms Monday. The agency expects to process up to 150 million tax forms this year.

Many may remember that they were surprised last year when they received a smaller refund. That’s because of changes made in the 2019 tax law.

“The thought process behind making those changes was to put more money in the individual’s pocket throughout the year,” says Adam Exas from Innovative Tax Accounting Solutions in Savannah.

Exas says withholding was changed in the law last year and for those who want larger refunds the remedy is to change withholding early in the year — like now. Keep in mind if you make changes this will affect tax refunds in 2021.

The new law last year also increased standard deductions for both single and married filers. The higher deductions provided many taxpayers with a somewhat easier filing process and they did not have to plug in various itemized deductions such as mortgage interest and medical expenses. That’s because in many cases, the larger standard deduction was better for the taxpayer than trying to itemize.

Exas says using the larger standard deduction can be useful for many who “have a very basic return where they have just one W-2 and they don’t have the opportunity to do any type of significant deductions.”

If you do plan to do your own taxes, the IRS offers recommendations of software programs on its website. They are free to use.

Exas does say it may not always be wise for people to just forego trying to itemize. “There are many things that can occur for an individual throughout the year whether that be they bought a house or have medical expenses this past year that they didn’t have last year,” he told us.

He says those with a variety of deductions may still benefit when “looking at itemizing versus the standard deduction.:

For those filing on their own, experts make sure you have the forms you need (and that’s important if you visit a professional.) You are also urged by the IRS to file electronically.

For extra security, you can establish a PIN number with the IRS to secure your return.

Exas says he also encourages his clients to file an electronic return: “We do think that electronic filing e signature filing is safe, we actually steer people in that direction both because it’s quick and easy and it’s what the IRS prefers.”

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