Ready. Set. File your 2013 taxes!
The Internal Revenue Service finally sent that starting signal today as the 2014 federal filing season officially began, 10 days later than scheduled thanks to the government shutdown last fall.
Early filers already in: Have you already hit enter on your e-filed return?
Or did you do so last week when you used Free File to complete your tax return and get it in the filing queue to be sent today?
Maybe you're old school and plan to drop your paper 1040 in the mail today.
Regardless of which way you sent or will submit your taxes, the IRS is now processing returns -- it expects to get more than 148 million filings this year -- and refunds soon will be on their way.
Refunds now being processed: Most filers -- around three-quarters, says the IRS -- get refunds each year. Naturally, they make up the bulk of early filers.
The IRS says it issues most refunds in less than 21 days. And the agency again emphasizes that e-filing with the direct deposit option is the fastest way to get your tax cash back from Uncle Sam.
You can always check the IRS' Where's My Refund? online status tool the day after you e-file your taxes. You'll need to wait about four weeks to check if you snail mail a paper 1040.
This IRS video explains how Where's My Refund? works.
Plenty of time: If, however, you're a little more deliberate in the filing of our tax return, that's fine. There's no rush to get the forms in; you have until April 15 or even Oct. 15 if you get an extension.
For those of you (including me) who will be filing in the next 74 days (you can check the countdown clock in the right column to keep track) or so, I hope you'll make the ol' blog a regular stop.
A tip is featured each day, weekends included, in the upper right corner. And you can always check out the full list, which will be broken down by month (the February grouping starts tomorrow) so that you're not overwhelmed.
So whether you're a filing veteran like me or a total tax newbie, welcome to the 2014 tax season party.
Over the next few weeks (or months for those, like me, who'll get extensions) we'll commiserate over our shared filing hassles, trade stories to make tax life simpler and less costly and discuss possible Congressional changes to the tax code.
And when all is said and done, hopefully everyone will go home with some useful tax party favors.
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