Dept. of Revenue offers tips as tax season approaches

Published 8:40 pm Friday, January 26, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The 2018 tax season is nearing its Feb. 1 start date, and Alabama residents will be looking to stay informed of the options they have at their disposal as well as new changes to the process.

In lieu of this, the Alabama Department of Revenue provides some details about tax tips, options and new facets available to their residents.

File early

Alabama residents can file as early as Feb. 1. Filing early decreases the chance of identity thieves compromising your information and also means you get your refund approved sooner.

According to Frank Miles, public information manager at ADOR, identity thieves look for any window of opportunity to intercept personal data.

“One thing everyone can do is file as early as possible, do not wait until April,” Miles said. “Fraudsters and thieves try to get ahead of you. The quicker you file, the more you can help stop fraud.”

Employers: remember to file W-2s

Employers have until Jan. 31 to file employee W-2 information. Those in violation could face penalties and could result in the slowing of employee refund return times.

Time lengths

Depending on an individual’s status and experience filing taxes, the time it takes to file refunds varies. First-time filers can expect to wait 8-12 weeks, e-filers average around 8-10 weeks and paper filers will wait 10-12 weeks. Applying electronically will be faster than filing with paper. Filing In February will see quicker returns than filing in April. Waiting until April could result in returns taking as long as 90 days.

Take a selfie, get refund sooner

With the introduction of a new method, Alabama residents now have the option to receive their refund quicker and safer. By downloading the eID mobile app, residents can register their tax information online. Download the app, set up your information and opt-in with your eID online at My Alabama Taxes. Once the eID has been verified, residents will be able to accept or deny returns being processed under their name, and also enables them to faster returns on their refunds. The app is available in the Apple app store or on Google Play.

Safety

ADOR conducts accuracy checks and detection reviews that make the process take longer, but help guarantee no mistakes or fraudulent activity. The accuracy checks are to ensure that there are no mathematical errors or missing information. The detection reviews are to ensure someone else is not stealing information.

According to James Crawford of C & B Tax Associates, the increase in safety measures for filing taxes was needed.

Many people do not understand the complexity of the tax code and end up hurting themselves financially, or become the victims of fraud.

“The identity theft is not happening with the pros, but rather its happening with people filing on their own,” Crawford said. “The process of filing taxes is stricter all the way down the line from what it used to be.

The stricter rules have done a great job in combating the issue.”

The Alabama Department of Revenue will begin releasing income tax refunds on March 1. The last day to file for refunds is April 17. Residents who file in April are entitled to the same refunds and benefits as those who file in February.

Residents can file for free using a My Alabama Taxes account. Individuals can set up their MAT account at www.myalabamataxes.alabama.gov.

This is also the website people can use to keep up with their file being processed. Residents can also call 1-855-894-7391 or 1-800-535-9410.

For more information regarding the Individual Income Tax, visit https://revenue.alabama.gov/individual-corporate.

For more news concerning the Alabama Department of Revenue, visit their Facebook page at “Alabama Department of Revenue.” Their twitter handle is @AlabamaRevenue.