BATON ROUGE - It's time to file your taxes this year, and there are some changes you need to know about. This tax season is expected to be the worst in years for both the IRS and taxpayers.
The agency's budget is smaller and the tax code is more complicated. Plus, the number of taxpayers has grown by 7 million. When the IRS begins accepting returns January 20th, there will be less services available and you may have trouble receiving help. 47% of calls to the IRS will go unanswered during filing season.
One way you can make things easier is by filing early. Even though W2's won't come out until later this month, tax preparers are ready to go.There are more than $1 trillion in tax deductions, but many get overlooked. When it comes to dependents, childcare and education have some credits and deductions you should keep in mind.
"If you pay for school supplies for your children or if you have them in public or private school and paid for uniforms, you're able to deduct that on your tax returns, but you need to have your receipts," explains Steve Everly with Jackson Hewitt.
There are also deductions to be aware of if you made any improvements to your home. There are credits for energy improvements, as well as 5-star rated windows and water heaters.
"For solar panels, the state is giving back half of what you paid as a refundable credit, and you can also get a refund on your federal tax return of 30%," Everly says. "If you paid for solar panels, you can basically get back 80% of what you paid for in the first year."