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Are you ready for the 2016 tax filing season?

Now that the holidays are over, the winter doldrums have set in for many people, creating the sense that there's relatively little going on for the foreseeable future outside of work and everyday chores.

While it's understandable why people might think this, the reality is far different. For starters, it's important to remember that the 2016 tax filing season has already begun, meaning people should start giving some very serious consideration to gathering up their W-2s, Form 1098s, Form 1099s and other important tax documents.

Indeed, there are some important factors of which people should be aware before sitting down to work on their tax return.

Is the filing deadline the same this year?

Thanks to the fact that 2016 is a leap year and the District of Columbia's observance of Emancipation Day will fall on April 15 this year, the official filing deadline is extended by four days. This means the filing deadline for 2016 is April 18.

Are people still electing to file electronically given the IRS' recent cyber security issues?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, e-filing and direct deposit is "the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund."

Given that electronic filings increased by 2.4 percent last year, while direct deposits increased by 2.7 percent, it's a good bet many people will still be using electronic filing.

What should I know about health insurance and taxes?

As you are probably already aware, those taxpayers who did not secure health insurance in 2015 or don't qualify for an exemption will be required to pay a penalty in the form of a smaller refund or larger tax bill.

Indeed, this year's fee is significantly higher than last year, as taxpayers can generally expect to pay 2 percent of taxable income or $325 per person, whichever is higher.  

Here's hoping we see a trouble-free filing season in 2016.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to tax law matters, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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