Tax filing officially starts in Louisiana - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Tax filing officially starts in Louisiana

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced it will start accepting and processing 2015 state individual tax returns on Tuesday.

It is the same day processing begins at the IRS.

To file taxes electronically, go to www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline. The expected refund processing time for e-filed returns is up to 60 days. Paper returns take 12 to 14 weeks to be processed.

LDR officials also said they have implemented enhanced security measures to crack down on fraudulent activity to protect taxpayers.

The deadline to file individual Louisiana tax returns is May 16.

Tips for Taxpayers
LDR recommends the following steps to ensure the fastest, most accurate tax return and refund processing:

File electronically - The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 60 days; for paper returns, expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks.

Taxpayers should update personal information if their name or address changed during the tax year.

Double-check return information - Ensure that all Social Security numbers and tax computations are correct, and that all names and Social Security numbers are in the same order as previous years. Math errors and incorrect tax-table information are leading causes of delayed refunds.

Include all supporting information such as W-2s; use paperclips, not staples, if filing a paper return.

Apply for extensions in a timely manner – Extension requests must be filed electronically no later than the May 16 income tax filing deadline.

If additional tax is due, include the remittance coupon to ensure proper payment posting.

Make checks or money orders payable to the Louisiana Department of Revenue; do not send cash.

If filing a paper return, attach the proper label to the mailing envelope.

Basic tips to taxpayers in choosing a reputable tax preparer include:

Try to find a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.

Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns.

Review and ask questions before signing a return.

Ask others that you know who have used that preparer if they were satisfied with the services that they received.

Ask any preparer that you are considering for references.

Ask and verify if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.

Always question entries on your return that you don’t understand.

Never sign a blank return.

Insist that the preparer sign the return and provide his appropriate information on the return.

The preparer should meet with the taxpayer and go over the return before it is filed.

Taxpayers should be provided a copy of their return before it is filed.

Pay attention to media reports of persons who have been convicted of tax fraud.

Taxpayers should be aware that the information that they provide to their preparer could be used to commit identity theft by an unscrupulous preparer.

Taxpayers should also:

Remember that they are ultimately responsible for what is included on their tax returns.

Beware of telephone scams purported to come from LDR and remember that LDR will not:

Call a taxpayer to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.

Demand the payment of taxes without allowing the taxpayer to question or appeal the amount owed.

Require the use of a specific method of payment.

Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the telephone.

If taxpayer feels that they are a victim of a telephone tax scam, contact:

LDR Criminal Investigations Division on its fraud hotline at 866-940-7053.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ftc.gov/complaint

Click here for more information

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