Tax season tips for taxpayers

Halen Doughty

Tax season is just around the corner. The Louisiana Department of Revenue will begin accepting income tax returns on Monday, January 29, which is the same day the IRS begins accepting federal income tax returns.

On January 29, Louisiana taxpayers can begin filing their returns electronically though Louisiana File Online, the state's free web portal for individual tax filers. Through the portal, taxpayers can file returns and pay taxes electronically, check the status of returns, and amend current and prior-year tax returns.

LDR has enhanced security measures that protect Louisiana taxpayers from identity theft and other kinds of tax fraud. Taxpayers who file electronically can expect their refunds within 60 days of the filing date, and those who file paper returns will see their refunds within 14 weeks. Updating your information with LDR can help minimize delays.

To ensure a fast, accurate return and refund processing, LDR recommends that taxpayers file electronically, update their personal information, double check their return information, and apply for extensions in a timely manner. For those filing paper returns, taxpayers should include all supporting information such as W-2s, use a paper clip instead of staples, and attach the proper label to the mailing envelope.

Taxpayers who are using a tax preparer should make sure they are reputable and available to answer questions after the return has been filed. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund. Ask any preparer you consider for references, and review documents before signing a return. Never sign a blank return. Be aware that the information you provide to the preparer could be used to commit identity theft by an unscrupulous preparer.

2017 Louisiana individual tax returns are due May 15, 2018.

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