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IRS says it is ready to begin receiving tax forms Jan. 20

The Internal Revenue Service announced the on-time opening of the nation’s 2015 filing season and highlighted a growing array of online services, including features that help taxpayers understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect them at tax time, along with the availability of the Free File program.

Taxpayers have until Wednesday, April 15, 2015 to file their 2014 tax returns and pay any tax due. The IRS expects to receive about 150 million individual income tax returns this year. Like each of the past three years, more than four out of five returns are expected to be filed electronically.

The IRS Free File program, available at, will open today, Friday, Jan. 16, for taxpayers, and the IRS will begin accepting and processing all tax returns on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

This year’s return will include new questions to incorporate provisions of the Affordable Care Act (or ACA). The majority of taxpayers - more than three out of four – will simply need to check a box to verify they have health insurance coverage. For the minority of taxpayers who will have to do more, features useful information and tips regarding the premium tax credit, the individual shared responsibility requirement and other tax features of the ACA.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced that taxpayers can begin preparing their returns using the Free File system on Friday, Jan. 16. Available only at, Free File offers two filing options:

• Brand-name software, offered by IRS’ commercial partners to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $60,000 or less; or

• Online fillable forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms available to taxpayers at all income levels and especially useful to people comfortable with filling out their own returns.

E-file, when combined with direct deposit, is the fastest way to get a refund. More than three out of four refund recipients now choose direct deposit. People who e-file make fewer mistakes, and it costs nothing for those who choose Free File.

In all, 14 software companies will be participating in this year’s Free File program. Additional details about the specific Free File offerings are on the front page of

Taxpayers who purchase their own software can also choose e-file, and most paid tax preparers are now required to file their clients’ returns electronically. In addition to Free File, commercial software companies also are currently available for taxpayer use.

The IRS will begin accepting and processing all returns – whether e-file, Free File or paper tax returns—on Jan. 20.

Like last year, the IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds within 21 days. Again, the fastest way to get a refund is to e-file and choose direct deposit. It takes longer to process paper returns and in light of IRS budget cuts resulting in a smaller staff, it will likely take an additional week or more to process paper returns meaning that those refunds are expected to be issued in seven weeks or more.

Koskinen said, “If you haven’t already, you should consider filing electronically. It’s fast, accurate and the best way to get your refund quickly.”

Koskinen also strongly encouraged taxpayers to visit as a first stop for information ranging from the status of their refunds to basic tax information. He cautioned taxpayers that recent budget reductions will mean long wait times on the phone, routinely topping 30 minutes.

Information on and using tax software and e-file are among the options that can help people with questions about the individual shared responsibility requirement included in the Affordable Care Act, which is new to the Form 1040 this filing season.

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