State, federal tax season for 2020 opens Jan. 27


The Oregon Department of Revenue will begin processing state tax returns on Jan. 27, the same day the IRS will begin processing federal returns. 

Taxpayers can submit their returns earlier, but processing won’t start until the tax season officially begins.

Once processing begins, returns will be processed in the order received. However, the Oregon Department of Revenue won’t be issuing personal income tax refunds until after Feb. 15. This refund hold is part of the state’s tax fraud prevention activities and will allow confirmation that the amounts claimed on returns matches what employers report on forms W-2 and 1099. 

The IRS is also holding federal tax refunds until after Feb. 15, but only for those taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit.

Federal changes from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act directly impact Oregon’s personal income tax, including changes to calculating withholding allowances for tax year 2019. 

This may mean that more taxpayers have a tax to pay or may have more tax to pay than usual. The department encourages taxpayers to use its online withholding calculator to check their state withholding, so they can make any necessary changes to 2020 withholding. 

Also, because of these federal tax changes, Oregon now has its own W-4 called Form OR-W-4. Taxpayers can request the new form from their employer or download it at www.oregon.gov/dor, fill it out and return it to their employer.

It’s important to note that beginning Jan. 1, any changes to your state withholding must be made using Form OR-W-4 because Oregon withholding is calculated using allowances, unlike the federal form.

Here are a few other things for taxpayers to keep in mind this tax season:

• E-filing is the fastest way to get your tax refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks.

• There are many free or low-cost preparation options available for both federal and Oregon tax returns.

• Some software companies offer free software use and e-filing for eligible taxpayers. Be sure to access the software through the department’s website, or the company may not allow you to take advantage of the free offer.

• AARP and CASH Oregon provide free and low-cost tax preparation services throughout local communities.

• All Oregon taxpayers preparing their own return can file electronically at no cost using Oregon’s free fillable forms. For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/dor and click on “Free tax preparation services” under “More Topics” on the department’s homepage.

• Taxpayers can order copies of past returns, letters or other correspondence — from 2015 to current — through their Revenue Online account. They can also order and pay for these, or older documents, over the phone at 800-356-4222.

• Anyone who needs a personal income tax return booklet can download and print it from www.oregon.gov/dor/forms. 

They can also order a copy online, by calling 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222, or by mailing their request — along with their name, phone number, and mailing address to:

Forms

Oregon Department of Revenue

PO Box 14999

Salem, OR 97309-0990

• Some eligible Oregonians may not be claiming the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. For more information about the credit and eligibility, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov. Those who qualify for the EITC are also eligible to claim Oregon’s Earned Income Credit, which is 8 percent of their federal credit amount, or 11 percent if they have a qualifying dependent under 3 years old.

Employers must file their income tax withholding returns and reports and remit the income tax withheld from their employees’ paychecks by Jan. 31. 

For information about an employer’s filing or payment responsibilities, visit www.oregon.gov/dor.

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