Tax Season 2023 has begun, and the filing deadline for individual income tax returns is April 18. The Alabama Department of Revenue (ALDOR) offers these tips and suggestions to help you file your return safely and get your refund as quickly as possible:
Taxpayers who file their returns electronically and have their returns directly deposited into their bank accounts receive their refunds quicker than those who file paper returns.
File from your home PC and eliminate the need to mail paper returns.
Electronic payment options are a convenient, safe and secure option for paying your taxes.
For more information on electronic filing options, visit https://www.revenue.alabama.gov/individual-corporate/individual-income-tax-electronic-filing-options/.
Taxpayers can file state returns for free using My Alabama Taxes. Filing returns on My Alabama Taxes requires taxpayers to create an account. Sign up at www.myalabamataxes.alabama.gov.
2022 Individual Income Tax forms and instructions can be found at https://www.revenue.alabama.gov/forms/?jsf=jet-data-table:form-table&meta=form-year:2022&tax=form-categories:154.
As soon as a taxpayers receive their W-2s, 1099s and other documents, they should file as soon as possible. Filing early can help ALDOR get refunds approved earlier, plus it enables taxpayers to get ahead of ID thieves.
ALDOR plays an important role in preventing state revenue and taxpayer money from ending up in the wrong hands. Fraud detection reviews, accuracy checks, and matching against employer W2s does require a little extra time, but it helps ensure that taxpayers get their money rather than fraudsters.
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.
After returns are filed, ALDOR may send letters asking for more information. If a taxpayer receives a letter from ALDOR, they should respond quickly so the department can review their information and get their refund to them. ALDOR will NEVER contact taxpayers initially by phone, text or email, only by letters sent through the mail.
BEWARE OF SCAMS
To detect and combat tax identity theft, 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:
An Identity Confirmation letter that asks the taxpayer to take a short online quiz or provide copies of documents to verify their identity (https://www.revenue.alabama.gov/individual-corporate/alabama-taxpayer-identity-protection-program/).
A return verification letter that asks the taxpayer to verify online whether they or their representative filed the tax return ALDOR received.
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 provides an explanation of changes that were made to the tax return.
The date a return is filed and how the return is filed largely determines when the refund can be issued. For example, electronically filed returns are received and processed significantly faster than returns that are mailed to ALDOR. Also, if an error-free return is mailed in January or February, the taxpayer can expect to receive their refund sooner than if the return is filed in March or April. Generally, about 30 percent of income tax returns are filed between April 1 and April 30. Returns filed this close to the deadline may require as many as 90 days to process.
First-time filers: It will take additional time for new filers to be validated and entered into ALDOR’s system. Until that time, the Refund Status website won't recognize these taxpayers and will report their returns as "not entered in system." It will take approximately 10-12 weeks to process a first-time return.
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: The return will take about 8-12 weeks to process. If the taxpayer received a letter from ALDOR asking for more information or to verify identity, the refund will be delayed until the requested information is received.
ALDOR will begin releasing income tax refunds on March 1. This will allow time to properly vet and process the returns of early filers, confirm the accuracy of legitimate returns, and filter out fraudulent returns. The best way to track the progress of refunds is My Alabama Taxes (www.myalabamataxes.alabama.gov). It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Those taxpayers who don’t have internet access can track their refund progress by calling our 24-hour refund hotline at 1-855-894-7391 or our daytime refund status line at 334-309-2612.
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