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Oregon Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service get to work on this year's returns

The Oregon Department of Revenue began processing state tax returns on Jan. 27, the same day the IRS targeted to begin accepting federal tax forms.PMG FILE PHOTO - State and federal forms are now available for doing your 2020 taxes.

Now that processing has begun, according to a release from the ODR, returns will be handled in the order they were received, but the department will not begin issuing income tax refunds until 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 release said. "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."

Taxpayers will see a number of changes via the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that will affect Oregon's personal income tax, including changes in 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 release said.

To that end the ODR has created a calculator so taxpayers can estimate their state withholding and adjust that figure for future years.

A second ramification of the federal tax act is that Oregon now has its own W-4 form, which taxpayers can request from their employers or download at www.oregon.gov/dor and return it to their employer. Starting this year, any changes to state withholding must be made using the W-4 form because Oregon withholding is calculated using allowances, unlike the federal form.

The ODR produced a number of suggestions for taxpayers to keep in mind this tax season, including recommending E-filing as the fastest way to get a refund on your taxes.

"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," the release said.

The department also suggests taxpayers consider a number of free or low-cost options for preparing their tax returns, including promoting some companies that offer free software and e-filing for eligible taxpayers. In addition, AARP and CASH Oregon provide free and low-cost tax preparation services throughout much of Oregon.

For more information on filing state tax forms, visit www.oregon.gov/dor and click on the "Free tax preparation services" tab under "More topics.

To access copies of past returns, letters or other correspondence since 2015 visit one's revenue online account or call 1-800-356-4222.


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