With the 2016 tax filing season officially behind us, it is time to start looking ahead. There are some significant changes for 2017 to keep in mind as you plan on filing your tax returns.
For businesses, it is always a good idea to close out your books as close to the end of year as possible. Download statements and reconcile bank and loan accounts, review your financial statements, make any end of year entries, and send the files along to your tax preparer ideally by the end of January.
For partnerships, it will be particularly important to provide timely information to preparers. The 2017 filing season moves up the partnership filing deadline for 2016 tax returns by a month – from April 15th to March 15th. This will be good news for partners whose individual returns have been delayed in the past by partnerships having the same filing deadline as individuals.
For individuals, use your tax organizer as a checklist, review the questionnaire to make sure you are notifying your tax preparer of life and tax-related changes, collect important tax files as they are sent or as you are notified they are available for download, and send documents to your tax preparer ideally by the end of February.
If you or your business files for an extension every year, tax payments are still due by the timely filing deadlines. For passthrough entities, investors must estimate their tax liabilities. Even if business books and records for 2016 will be incomplete or are in draft form in the beginning of 2017, early communications will assist the preparer in managing the work flow at this critical time of year and allow ample time to estimate any amounts due.
If you are an individual with a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) requirement, the deadline moves up by a month and a half to align with the individual tax return deadline. In the past, no extension has been allowed, but in the future, the deadline may be extended in line with the individual filing extension deadline.
Below is a chart summarizing the changes for the 2017 and future filing seasons.