The Alabama Department of Revenue has compiled a list of the things you should know about preparing your individual returns
Tax season begins on Jan. 29. The filing deadline for individual returns is April 15. The Alabama Department of Revenue (ALDOR) has compiled a list of tips to help small business owners and others file their returns and get their refunds quickly:
- FILE EARLY – File as soon as possible after you receive your W-2s, 1099s and other documents. Filing early can help ALDOR get refunds approved earlier, plus it enables you to get ahead of ID thieves.
- SAFETY FIRST – ALDOR plays a critical role in preventing taxpayer money from ending up in the wrong hands. We take a little extra time to perform fraud detection reviews and accuracy checks and to match against employer W2s, but this diligent work helps ensure that you get your money instead of fraudsters.
- EMPLOYERS – FILE THOSE W-2s! Employers must file employee W-2 information with ALDOR by Jan. 31. Employers who file late may face penalties and will slow the processing of their employees’ tax returns.
- KEEP IN TOUCH – After you file, ALDOR may ask for more information. If you receive a letter from us, respond quickly so we can review your information and get your refund to you as soon as possible. REMEMBER: ALDOR will NEVER contact taxpayers initially by phone, text or email, only by letters sent through the mail.
- BEWARE OF SCAMS – DO NOT GIVE ANYONE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION WITHOUT CONFIRMING THEY ARE THE PROPER AUTHORITIES!
- Fraud Detection. ALDOR uses a variety of methods to validate identities and tax returns. To help protect personally identifiable information and keep dollars from going to criminals, ALDOR may send:
- Accuracy Checks. ALDOR stops and reviews about 3 to 5 percent of individual income tax returns each year to resolve mathematical errors or request missing information. To be sure that tax returns correctly reflect information and intent, ALDOR may send:
- A Request for Information letter that asks for missing or additional information to support data reported on the tax return.
- A Tax Computation Change letter that explains changes that were made to the tax return.
- HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? When and how you file your return largely determines when your refund can be issued. For example, we receive and process electronically filed returns significantly faster than mailed returns. Also, returns tend to pile up later in the season and take longer to process. Generally, about 30 percent of income tax returns are filed in April. Returns filed this close to the deadline may require as many as 90 days to process.
- First?time filers: It takes additional time for new filers to be validated and entered into ALDOR’s system (approximately 10-12 weeks). Until then, the Refund Status website won’t recognize these taxpayers and will report their returns as “not entered in system.”
- E-filers: Generally, e-filers can expect their refund about 8?10 weeks after the date they receive their filing acknowledgment from the state.
- Paper filers: These returns take about 8?12 weeks to process. ALDOR personnel must manually enter information from paper returns into the database.
- If you receive a letter from ALDOR asking for more information or to verify identity, the refund will be delayed until the requested information is received and reviewed by ALDOR.
- WHERE’S YOUR REFUND? ALDOR will begin releasing income tax refunds on March 1. The best way for you to track the progress of your refund is My Alabama Taxes (myalabamataxes.alabama.gov), available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you don’t have internet access, then you can track your refund by calling our refund hotline at 1-855-894-7391 or our daytime refund status line at 334-309-2612.
For more information about Individual Income Tax, visit https://revenue.alabama.gov/individual-corporate/.