Tax return filing season has arrived, which means it's time to mark your calendar for these 2017 tax deadlines.
- January 17 — Due date for the fourth and final installment of 2016 estimated tax for individuals (unless you file your 2016 return and pay any balance due by January 31).
- January 31 — Employers must furnish 2016 W-2 statements to employees, and send copies to the Social Security Administration (both paper and electronic).
- January 31 — Payers must file all copies of 2016 Forms 1099-MISC with non-employee compensation in Box 7. For these forms, the January 31 due date applies to both paper and electronic filing.
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Did you spot the new due dates on the tax calendar? As you begin your January payroll preparation, take into account earlier due dates for two common information reporting forms.
Forms W-2 for 2016 are due January 31 for all copies. In the past, you had to provide Forms W-2 to your employees by January 31. Now the January 31 deadline also applies to copies submitted to the Social Security Administration.
The due date for filing all copies of 2016 Forms 1099-MISC with non-employee compensation in Box 7 is January 31, 2017. For these forms, the January 31 due date also applies to both paper and electronic filing.
When you're an applicable large employer (generally, when you employ 50 or more full-time workers and equivalents), you're required to provide information about health coverage to the IRS and to your employees. The IRS extended the date on which two of these forms are due to your employees. Instead of being due January 31, Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and Form 1095-C, Employer Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, are now due March 2, 2017. There is no change to the February 28, 2017, due date for filing paper forms with the IRS, nor the March 31, 2017, due date for filing electronically.
Have you noticed the price of gas? So has the IRS — and the reimbursement rate for business mileage has gone down as a result. The new rate for 2017 is 53.5¢ per mile, down from the 2016 rate of 54¢ per mile.
The rate for medical and moving mileage also decreased. Effective January 1, the standard rate is 17¢ per mile, down from last yearís 19¢. The charitable mileage rate remains 14¢.
Shaping up your finances in 2017 may seem like a big goal, perhaps even too daunting. But if you take one small step at a time, these small steps will add up. Here are suggestions.
* Shift out of automatic. Have you established automatic bill pay at your bank or service provider, or automatic charges to your credit card?
Small step: Look for payments for goods or services you no longer use, such as recurring monthly subscriptions, and cancel them.
Big goal: Reduce total expenses and increase savings.
* Take the urgency out of emergency. Sure, you know that having an account with enough funds specifically earmarked for emergencies is a good idea. But the amount you need to save seems overwhelming. The good news is you donít have to immediately fund six months of living expenses.
Small step: Set up a separate account with automatic deposits of $5 or $10 per paycheck, perhaps with funds youíve redirected from those unused recurring monthly subscriptions.
Big goal: An emergency fund with enough cash to cover six months of expenses.
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In general, you can expect your federal refund to be issued approximately 21 days after your electronically filed tax return has been accepted. However, identity theft is still a major problem, and the IRS continues to implement new strategies to protect taxpayer data. For example, if you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit on your 2016 individual federal income tax return, your refund will be held until February 15.