Tax season is here!

6 things you should know before you file.

Tax season officially began on Jan. 29. That means the IRS is now accepting tax returns.

We know tax season can cause a sense of panic and uncertainty for some, while others are more excited at the prospect getting money back in the form of a tax return. No matter what tax payer category you fall into, here are some things you should know before you file this year.

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1. THIS IS THE LAST YEAR TO FILE UNDER THE OLD TAX CODE

Even though President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Dec. 22, most of the changes don’t apply to 2017. Here is the one change you should be aware of that does apply to 2017:

Under the previous tax law, filers who take the medical expense deduction could only deduct qualifying costs that exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. Now, that threshold has been dropped to 7.5 percent for the 2017 and 2018 tax years. (CNBC)

2. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET YOUR REFUND WITHIN 21 DAYS

The IRS typically issues refunds in less than three weeks. Though the IRS won’t issue refunds to returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid- to late-February according to the law. It’s also important to remember that not all tax returns are alike, so some might take longer to process than others. If you find yourself waiting longer than expected for your refund, the IRS has a tool called Where’s My Refund? that will keep you updated.

3. YOUR TAX FORMS SHOULD ARRIVE SOON

Most tax documents are sent out by Jan. 31. So if it’s been a while and you haven’t received everything, be sure to contact your employer and make sure the address they have on file is correct. If there’s still an issue in receiving your tax forms, contact the IRS.

4. THE LAST DAY TO FILE YOUR TAXES IS TUESDAY, APRIL 17

This is two days later than the traditional filing date because April 15 falls on a Sunday and Monday, April 16, is Emancipation Day, which is a legal holiday. Though, just because there’s more time to file, doesn’t mean you should necessarily wait because…

5. IT’S BEST TO FILE YOUR TAX RETURN EARLY

Thanks to big, public breaches last year, we’ve learned that our personal information isn’t as safe and secure as we’d like it to be. One big way to prevent tax-related identity theft (where someone uses your social security to create a fraudulent return and claim a refund) is to file early so that they can’t use your information to file.

6. THE IRS WILL NEVER ASK FOR INFORMATION VIA EMAIL OR TEXT MESSAGE

There are so many scams people fall victim to during this time. But it’s important to stay aware and not give your information out unless you know for sure you’re speaking to the IRS.

Happy tax season!

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