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Each new year brings with it a potential multitude of changes, big and small, to the tax code. This is one of the many reasons it can be advantageous to employ the services of an Austin IRS enrolled agent, to have locally available and professionally certified help navigating these changes. The coming year has one significant change you should be taking note of for your small business, and that is the new filing deadline for employers.

BusinessmenIn previous years, employers utilizing paper filing have had until the end of February to present these forms to the IRS, and until the end of March if they were submitting electronically. Starting in 2017, that deadline will be moved up to January 31st, regardless of filing method. This new deadline concerns both W-2 forms and certain 1099-MISC forms, such as non-employee payments to independent contractors. It further coincides with the already established deadline for employers to give copies of the W-2 forms to all of their employees, and that deadline will remain the same.

The movement of this deadline comes from the passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015. Part of the goal of this bill is assisting the IRS in the detection and prevention of tax refund fraud. The accelerated timeline will help the IRS by giving the agency more time to carefully go through these forms and spot errors on taxpayers’ returns.

In addition, changes have been made to the process of requesting a filing extension. Now only a single 30 day extension is available and will not be automatically granted. If an employer finds that an extension will be necessary, they must fill out a Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns as soon as possible, and no later than the January 31st deadline.

This new law also requires the IRS to withhold refunds involving two crucial refundable tax credits until at least February 15th. Any return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) will have its refund held until at least that date and possibly longer. This includes the entirety of the refund, not just the portion associated with the EITC or ACTC. The IRS believes in many cases the earlier submission of forms will lead to expedited refunds, but they caution taxpayers against making significant financial plans or purchases contingent upon receiving their funds by a certain date.

More information about this change is available on the IRS’s website. The employer filing deadline is the most pervasive change located within PATH, but many other changes will be going into effect and it’s a good idea to consult with an IRS enrolled agent in Austin to ensure you have all of your bases covered. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS offers and with rigorous testing and continuing education requirements ensures that the tax professional in question will be the most up-to-date and well-versed in the current tax code. Contact us today and let us make sure that you and your business will enjoy smooth sailing this tax season.

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