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Income tax filing season starts Feb. 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it will launch the federal tax-filing season on Friday, February 12, 2021. For the benefit and convenience of taxpayers and tax preparers, the Rhode Island tax-filing season will begin on the same date.

Thus, on February 12, 2021, the Rhode Island Division of Taxation will officially begin accepting and processing electronically filed personal income tax returns as well as paper returns on Form RI-1040 and Form RI-1040NR.

However, for the benefit of low-income taxpayers, the Division has already begun accepting and processing stand-alone Form RI-1040H ("Rhode Island Property Tax Relief Claim") returns filed on paper. This applies only to Form RI-1040H filed on paper. The Division will not accept electronically filed returns with Form RI-1040H until February 12. Although the Division is now accepting the standalone Form RI-1040H filed on paper, the Division reminds filers that paper returns take time to process. Therefore, filers of stand-alone paper returns on Form RI-1040H should allow at least two weeks for their returns to be processed and refunds issued (assuming a complete and accurate form is filed, and the taxpayer qualifies for a refund).

The official start of filing season typically occurs in late January in any given year. This year, the official start is February 12 to allow the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following changes in federal tax law, enacted on December 27, 2020, that provided a second round of economic impact payments and other provisions. See: https://go.usa.gov/xAVxt. Preparers and taxpayers typically prepare one's federal return before preparing one's Rhode Island return and file both at the same time.

As in prior years, some providers of tax-preparation software may allow tax preparers and taxpayers to file returns in advance. In such instances, the providers may hold the electronically filed returns until the filing season's official launch date.

Form RI-1040H is available for download via the following link: http://www.tax.ri.gov/forms/2020/Income/2020%20RI-1040H_w.pdf.

The Division will begin accepting and processing electronically filed personal income tax returns, including e-filed returns that include Form RI-1040H, on Friday, February 12, 2021. "We urge everyone to file electronically. E-filing is faster, results in fewer errors, and generates refunds more quickly," said Rhode Island Tax Administrator Neena Savage. "Furthermore, e-filing is the only way a taxpayer can receive a Rhode Island personal income tax refund by direct deposit," she said. (Paper filers must receive refunds by check.) E-filing also saves Division of Taxation processing costs, which, in turn, saves money for all taxpayers, Savage said. It is also important to note that paid preparers are subject to Rhode Island's e-file mandate under Rhode Island General Laws 44-1-31.1 ("Returns to be filed by paid tax return preparers electronically") and Regulation 280-RICR-20-30-2 ("Electronic Filing for Paid Preparers").

BUSINESS RETURNS, FIDUCIARY RETURNS The Division has already begun accepting and processing business returns on Form RI-1065 ("Partnership Income Return"), Form RI-1120S ("Subchapter S Business Corporation Tax Return"), and Form RI-1120C ("Business Corporation Tax Return"), whether filed electronically or on paper. In addition, the Division has already begun accepting and processing returns on Form RI-1041 ("Fiduciary Income Tax Return"), whether e-filed or paper-filed. The Division encourages e-filing of business and fiduciary income tax returns because e-filing is faster, results in fewer errors, and generates refunds more quickly. Paid preparers also are subject to the requirements of mandatory e-filing by statute and by regulation.

FILING DEADLINE IS APRIL 15, 2021 The usual deadline for Rhode Island personal income tax filings and payments each year is April15. In some years, the deadline has been moved to other days because April 15 fell on a weekend or on the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C. (which the IRS observes). This season, the deadline for filings and payments is Thursday, April 15, 2021.

All resident and nonresident Rhode Island personal income tax returns and related payments for tax year 2020 must be e-filed or postmarked on or before April 15, 2021. (Six-month extensions are allowed, but they are extensions of the time to file, not of the time to pay.)

Overall, the Division expects this year to receive and process more than 650,000 resident and nonresident personal income tax returns covering the 2020 tax year. ? April 15 is also the deadline for first-quarter payments of quarterly estimated personal income tax for the 2021 tax year.

BUSINESS FILING DEADLINE April 15, 2021, is also the Rhode Island filing deadline for several entities, as shown below:

-- Corporate income tax RI-1120C - April 15, 2021 -- Public service gross earnings tax T-72 - April 15, 2021 -- Bank excise tax T-74 April 15, 2021 -- Insurance gross premiums tax T-71 - April 15, 2021 -- Individual income tax* RI-1040 - April 15, 2021 -- Single-member LLC** RI-1065 - April 15, 2021 -- Income tax of trust, estate RI-1041 - April 15, 2021 * Includes nonresident returns on Form RI-1040NR. ** Single-member limited liability company (SMLLC) uses same due date and extended due date as its owner. Table assumes owner is calendar-year individual.

Returns for partnerships and limited liability companies (filing as pass-through entities), and returns for subchapter S corporations, are due Monday, March 15, 2021. Returns involving withholding of pass-through entities; composite income tax returns; and returns on Form RI-PTE ("Pass-through Entity Election Tax Return") are also due March 15, 2021.6 Form T-71A ("Surplus Line Broker Return of Gross Premiums") is due April 1, 2021.

TAX FORMS For those without tax preparation software, personal income tax forms for the new filing season, covering tax year 2020, are now available on the Division's website including Form RI-1040H, involving the statewide property-tax relief credit. To view the forms, click here. The Division has also posted business-related forms covering the 2020 tax year, including forms for C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, and others.

This year, the extended due date for 2020 returns is Friday, October 15, 2021. 6 Subchapter S corporations, LLCs, and partnerships must file Form RI-1096PT on or before the fifteenth day of the third month following the close of the pass-through entity's taxable year (March 15, 2021, for a pass-through entity whose taxable year for federal income tax purposes is the calendar year). Trusts must file Form RI-1096PT on or before the fifteenth day of the fourth month following the close of the pass-through entity's taxable year (April 15, 2021, for a pass-through entity whose taxable year for federal income tax purposes is the calendar year).

The Division of Taxation recently posted on its website the booklet of income tax withholding tables for tax year 2021. Employers use the tables to calculate how much to withhold from an employee's pay for Rhode Island personal income tax purposes. To view, click here. For a copy of the 2021 withholding tax payment calendar for employers, click here. For employees and others, the Division recently posted the 2021 version of Form RI W-4, "Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate". (An employee uses Form RI W-4 to adjust the amount of Rhode Island personal income tax withheld from the employee's paycheck.)

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