What you need to know ahead of 2017 tax season

Posted at 6:56 AM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 07:51:45-05

Tax season has officially begun. Monday, January 23rd marks the first day to start filing those 2016 tax returns.

There are some major changes this year that will impact how long you have to file your return and when you could potentially receive your refunds.

The first thing you need to know is that you have a few more days to get those returns in.

Usually the deadline is April 15th, but because that falls on a weekend and the following Monday is Emancipation Day, this year's deadline is April 18th.

Another major change affects lower income earners.

The 'Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes' Act, or the PATH Act, delays refunds for some taxpayers who file for the 'Earned Income Tax' credit or the 'Additional Child Tax' credit.

These people may not get their returns until the week of February 27th, which could hurt not only the taxpayers themselves, but some businesses.

"Those who file for those returns actually need those funds --they need them for every day activity, groceries, rent, car payments," says Donnie Oliver, an accountant whose been helping people file taxes for nearly two decades. "It impacts the total economy because I have business clients, and they expect tax season for people to come and put down payments on cars, and buy large appliances if they're a Lowes or Home Depot."

The PATH Act allows the IRS to have more time to detect and prevent fraud.

For people who don't file on their own - the Better Business Bureau has a warning.

"Beware if somebody says 'I'm going to get you more than anyone else will get you. They can't," says Tom Gallagher with the BBB. "The law says you can deduct this, this and this. Or you can get this credit and that credit. You can't get more than what the law says."

The best advice is for you to take your time and make sure you have all the forms you need before you file.