BATON ROUGE (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Department of Revenue has announced it will begin accepting 2019 state individual income tax returns on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, the same day Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting 2019 federal income tax returns.
On Jan. 27, Louisiana taxpayers can begin filing their state income tax returns electronically through Louisiana File Online, the state’s free web portal for individual tax filers. Filing online allows taxpayers to:
- File returns and pay taxes electronically
- Check the status of individual income tax refunds
- Amend current and prior-year tax returns
- Request a filing extension
Also on Jan. 27, taxpayers can begin submitting returns to the state through commercially-available tax preparation software; or they can download paper tax forms from the LDR website at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/Forms.
However, updated printed forms will not be available before Jan. 27.
While the IRS deadline to file federal income tax returns April 15, Louisiana residents filing tax returns have an extra month to file state taxes, as the deadline is not until May 15.
LDR has implemented enhanced security measures to protect Louisiana taxpayers from identity theft and other types of tax fraud. If returns do not trigger any fraud indicators, taxpayers due refunds can expect them within 45 days of the filing date if they file electronically and within 14 weeks if they file paper returns.
Taxpayers can minimize delays in receiving their refunds by updating their contact information with LDR, including name, address and telephone number. If you have moved or changed your name since your last tax filing, update your contact information at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/AddressChange.
Tips for Taxpayers
Steps to insure Fast, Accurate Return & Refund Processing
- File electronically. The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to six-and-a-half weeks, while people filing paper returns could wait up to 14 weeks to get their money.
- 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. 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 no later than the May 15 income tax filing deadline.
- 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.
Tips for Choosing a Reputable Tax Preparer
Try to find a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
- Avoid tax preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other tax 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 as the paid preparer of the return and provide his/her 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.