Talking Taxes: Reminders for filing deadline, refund delays, gambling winnings

Wednesday , January 11, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Talkin' Taxes

The IRS will be accepting tax returns for processing on Jan. 23, but taxpayers can expect delays in getting their refunds.

The IRS will not be releasing any refunds that have the Earned Income Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit until February 15, 2017. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC — until at least Feb. 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

As a reminder, electronically filed returns and direct deposits are the quickest way to get the refund. The IRS states that the funds will hit the taxpayer's bank around the 27th of February if the taxpayer has selected direct deposit.

Businesses will be required to file W2 and 1099-Misc by Jan. 31. This includes businesses who are required to electronically file these returns. This differs from previous years that allowed businesses to submit the W2 and 1099-Misc information if electronically by April 1.

The last day to file your 2016 tax return is April 18, 2017.

Gambling Winnings

In an article last year, I discussed the changes the IRS was proposing regarding gambling winnings. In 2015, the IRS proposed changes to the reporting requirements of gaming institutions. The proposed changes would affect the reporting requirements under §7.6041-1 of the Temporary Income Tax Regulations under the Tax Reform Act of 1976. The Tax Reform Act of 1976 determined that casinos had to report any winnings from slot machines and bingo that were $1200 or more and $1500 from keno to the taxpayer via a W2-G by Jan. 31. The proposed changes to the IRS regulation were to drop the reporting amount to $600 to be consistent with other filing requirements of income reported.

In addition, the IRS wanted to track the taxpayer’s winnings with the use of the “Player’s Card”. The Player’s Card is like a loyalty or rewards card from a gas station. The proposed regulation also wanted to define session of play. The gaming industry went wild with objection. When the IRS held the Public Hearing in June 2015, five speakers from the industry spoke, and over 14,000 written objections were submitted rejecting these changes.

On Dec. 31, 2016, the IRS finalized the regulations and filed it with the Federal Registry. The gaming industry was happy with the results of the finalized regulations. No change was made to the reporting amounts, keeping the amounts to jackpots of more than $1200 in place for slots and bingo and $1500 for keno. The new regulations included the session of play to include the 24-hour period.

In addition, the tracking of winnings on a Player’s Card was scrapped. However, casinos have changed the format for Win/Loss statements that show a summary only of gaming activities resulting in either a gain or loss.

Gambling winnings must be reported exactly as stated on the W2-G a taxpayer receives from the casino. If a taxpayer is able to itemize their deductions on Schedule A (i.e. mortgage interest, charitable donations, etc that exceed the Standard Deduction), the taxpayer can deduct the gambling losses up to the amount of the winnings reported on the W2-G.

No matter how much the taxpayer lost in gambling, the amount placed on Schedule A cannot be more than the winnings. If a taxpayer is not able to itemize their deductions on a Schedule A, the losses cannot be deducted.

Tracy Bunner is an enrolled agent and tax preparer with an office in Harrisville. She can be reached at 801-627-2212 or at

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