It’s time to prepare your 2015 taxes. More than 70 percent of America’s taxpayers can look forward to a refund on the money they paid into the system last year. If your tax return is fairly simple you can use a tax calculator 2015 to calculate your returns.
109,000,000 Refunds Last Year
Last year, the IRS sent 109 million refunds to happy tax filers, averaging $2,797. This year, the agency anticipates 150 million filings. Most people will have until April 18 to file, three days beyond the usual April 15 deadline because Emancipation Day falls on the 15th.
Consistent with the season, the grumbling has begun. The IRS has cut back on some customer services and getting copies of old filings may take longer. Concerns about identify theft also are rampant. The agency suggests that taxpayers with concerns go to the IRS.gov site before trying to make contact via telephone.
IRS Get Transcript
The IRS Get Transcript will be available for those who need a copy of a filing for a previous year, but they may wait longer, according to John Koskinen, IRS commissioner. Planning well ahead is the best approach, he said.
Serious ID fraud relating to Get Transcript last year has created roadblocks for legitimate taxpayers who need the service. Instead of being able to print out a copy of an earlier return, those who use Get Transcript now should expect to receive a printed copy in five to 10 days of their request.
Koskinen said the IRS expects to have problems with the service fixed during the current filing period, but it won’t be possible to print copies directly until new safeguards have been tested.
The problems relate to serious fraud activity last year from mid-February to mid-May. Some 100,000 Get Transcript accounts were compromised. More precautions are being taken by tax preparers and IRS agents to prevent fraud, he said. Better ways to authenticate a taxpayer’s identity are being put into place. New password protections have been added to private-sector software accounts. Minimum eight-digit passwords combining letters and numbers are being required.
The agency also is adding safeguards to protect taxpayers against people who make phone calls purporting to be IRS agents. New provisions passed by Congress in December include authorization for the IRS to use private debt collectors to get payment from people who haven’t paid up yet. The program is expected to be working later this year. They may be making robocalls.
But until you receive a letter from the IRS saying that you will be receiving such a call, be wary of contacts purporting to be from the IRS. Rule of thumb: if you are surprised to be receiving a call from the IRS, you likely are not talking with the IRS but with a crook anxious to have your information.