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For many Americans, the theme song from Jaws begins to play right around April 1. The deadline to file 2016 taxes is now lurking closer, and for those who have not yet begun to file or speak with a tax professional, the scramble begins.

filing 2016 taxesEven if you’ve waited until today to start thinking about filing last year’s taxes, the days and weeks ahead do not have to be stressful. Below are three simple guidelines to remember as you plan to file. Sure, they may seem basic, but you might be glad to know them in the coming days.

1. The Filing Deadline is April 18.

It’s not the usual April 15 deadline in 2017. Instead, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is recognizing the filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns as Tuesday, April 18, 2017. This year, April 15 falls on a Saturday. Yes, this scenario would typically mean the nation’s filing deadline falls on the following Monday (April 17). However, Emancipation Day will be observed that day, and it’s a legal holiday in Washington, D.C. According to tax law, D.C. holidays affect the tax deadline when applicable.

2. You May Be Able to File Your Taxes for Free.

There are numerous benefits to employing the assistance of a trusted tax professional. For one, they do it every day for four months, so they’re well-informed about the intricacies of filing using all the various forms. They can also provide helpful advice about the ever-changing tax code and new rules regarding deductions.

However, if you’re not feeling the price tag of a professional filer or you’re just up to the task of filing solo, you probably have the option to do it yourself — in fact, 70 percent of American taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. If you do file your own taxes, remember to double-check your numbers before submitting. Reporting all your income as accurately as possible is key. Software won’t catch mistakes in your initial data entry. You could be audited if the numbers the IRS has don’t match those on your tax return.

3. You Can Check the Status of Your Tax Refund.

Exhale, it’s over! Now you’re supposed to sit patiently and wonder when your ship is going to come in, right? The IRS actually has a way to find out the status of your refund after you’ve filed your taxes. You can access “Where’s My Refund?” ‎on and the IRS2Go phone app. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software do not have information on individuals’ refund dates, so this method is the best one to check the status of your refund.

Happy filing!


About John Bair

John Bair has guided thousands of plaintiffs through the settlement process as co-founder of Milestone Consulting, LLC, a broad-based settlement planning and management firm. Milestone’s approach is comprehensive and future-focused. John’s team has guided thousands of clients by taking the time to understand the complexities of each case. They assess the best outcome and find the path that enables each client to manage their many needs. Read more about Milestone Consulting at

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