Filing season starts on Jan. 29 when the IRS begins accepting tax returns. The 2018 due date is April 17 to file the Vermont personal income tax return, an extension to file the Vermont personal income tax return, Homestead Declaration, Property Tax Adjustment Claim, and Renter Rebate Claim. Read our press release to learn more.
We continue to combat criminal activity, taking important steps to help detect and prevent refund fraud. The Vermont Department of Taxes partners with the IRS, other state tax agencies, and companies and trade associations in the tax and financial services industries to establish stronger security measures. We are particularly focusing on online filing, including validation of identity and return information at the time of filing. Our IT system, VTax, offers additional tools to help make sure you receive your refund instead of a fraudster.
The Department has made many changes and adjustments to our refund processing and expects better turnaround times for e-filed returns. Vermonters can improve their own refund turnaround time by e-filing early, choosing direct deposit of their refund to an existing bank account, and using software to eliminate errors. Taxpayers who e-file generally receive refunds more quickly than those who file on paper.
Here are some things you can expect to see when you file your taxes this year:
- Federal Tax Reform
Tax Commissioner Kaj Samsom is working with other states, legislative partners, and local accounting professionals to evaluate the impact of federal tax reform on Vermont taxpayers. On Jan. 2, the Department sponsored a Federal Tax Reform Panel to bring members of those groups together and publicly discuss the issues. Watch a recording of the panel discussion:
- Fraud Prevention a Focus
Because fraudsters work hard to devise new ways to steal identities and money, the Department continues to experience attempted tax refund fraud, which also is happening in other states and at the federal level. The Vermont Department of Taxes continues to work with other state revenue departments and the IRS to implement new procedures to help protect taxpayer money. Learn more about identity theft and fraud.
The department is also emphasizing the Jan. 31 due date for employers to file W-2 information with the Department. Filing this information electronically by the due date prevents a frequent source of refund delay. Submitting false W-2 information is a favorite tactic of fraudsters. Having increased compliance with the Jan. 31 filing deadline and increased e-filing of W-2 reconciliations really helps the department prevent fraud and get refunds to taxpayers much faster.
- Driver’s License Information
Last year, the Department began asking for additional information in an effort to combat stolen-identity tax fraud. Please provide the requested information from your driver’s license or state-issued identification card. This is a required field when filing your return. If you don’t have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card, you can check the box indicating that you do not have one. If you have a preparer file your return, be sure the preparer has your driver’s license number, including state and date of issue, and expiration date.
- Request for Return Verification or Additional Information
Be advised that after you submit your return, you may receive a letter from the Department requesting additional information. Please respond as soon as possible to avoid a delay of your refund. You may provide additional information, including requested documents, online through myVTax (click "Respond to correspondence"). If we ask you to verify that the return the Department has received is truly your return, you also may respond through myVTax (click "Return filing verification").
- Refund Expectation
Taxpayers should be aware that the Department's measures to combat personal income tax fraud for the 2018 tax filing season may cause delays in receiving their refunds. The Department will start processing returns the first week of February. However, we may hold some returns until we receive W-2 withholding reports from employers, which are due on January 31.
Curious to know the status of your refund? After you file your return, you may find out the status by visiting myVTax (click "Check the status of your return"). Once you transmit your e-filed return or mail in your paper return, please allow 72 hours for e-filing and 8-12 weeks for paper filing before checking your status on myVTax.
The most efficient and secure way to file Vermont tax returns continues to be electronic filing, and direct deposit to an existing bank account is the fastest way to receive a refund. Taxpayers who e-file generally receive their refunds more quickly than those who file paper returns. E-filed returns have an expected time frame of 6-8 weeks for a refund, while paper returns typically take at least 8-12 weeks.
- Return Verification Letters and Paper Checks
Over the last few years, the Department might have issued you a paper check, even if you selected to receive your refund by direct deposit or prepaid debit card. This protection helped the Department avoid sending your money to an account or debit card that is controlled by a criminal. Beginning last year, we sent return verification letters instead of automatically flipping your request to a paper check. This letter asks for you to go to myVTax and enter the verification code included on the letter (click "Return filing verification"). This will verify your request and allow us to proceed with processing your refund.
- Free Tax Assistance to Eligible Vermont Taxpayers
Last year, about 65% of Vermont taxpayers qualified to file their federal and state income taxes through Free File, but only about 2% of those eligible used this free online filing service. Taxpayers with low to moderate incomes and elderly taxpayers may also take advantage of free assistance though the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program, and the MyFreeTaxes Partnership. To find out more about these free programs and to see if you're eligible, see Free File and Free Tax Preparation Assistance.
- Tips to Get Your Refund More Quickly
The Department offers tips to help you get your tax refund in a timely manner. See our fact sheet, Where’s My Vermont Income Tax Refund? and infographic. Here are some quick tips:
- Provide your correct mailing address.
- Provide correct banking information if you want direct deposit.
- Double check your entries into forms and math calculations (e-filing minimizes math errors).
- Use current forms for the tax year.
- Making Online Filing Easier through myVTax
The Department continues to make improvements to make online filing easier for all taxpayers. You may use commercial tax software to e-file Vermont personal income tax, but some filings may be made for free through myVTax. Here is a full list of myVTax services. A short list follows:
- Homestead Declaration
- Property Tax Adjustment
- Renter Rebate
- Landlord Certificate
- An extension to file personal income tax (note: This is filing a return only. You must make payment by the April due date.)