The Missouri Department of Revenue started accepting electronically filed state tax returns for tax year 2019 on Jan. 27, the same day the Internal Revenue Service began accepting federal tax returns for individual filers. As Missourians prepare to file their tax returns, the department is reminding customers of some best practices and available resources that can help ensure a smooth tax season.

Review important individual income tax changes effective for the 2019 tax year. Refer to the department’s “What’s New?” resource for details about changes to the Missouri standard deduction, the federal tax deduction and more.

File electronically and use direct deposit. E-filing is a fast, accurate and secure way to file a return. The department has received more than 3.1 million returns for the 2018 tax year. Of those, 86.5 percent were e-filed, and 13.5 percent were filed using a paper return. Individuals who e-file can have their refund deposited directly into their bank account and generally receive their refund faster than those who file using a paper return.

Many Missourians might qualify for free e-filing services through the Free File Alliance, which allows eligible taxpayers to file their federal and state income tax returns using approved software. For more information, go to the IRS Free File website or the department’s “Online Filing” resource page.

Double-check your paper return. Before submitting a paper return to the department, make sure it is signed, all math computations are correct and all necessary documentation is included. Also, use the correct post office box when mailing the return. For individuals with a balance due, send the return and check to Missouri Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 329, Jefferson City, MO 65105-0329. For individuals who are due a refund or owe nothing, send the return to Missouri Department of Revenue, P.O. Box 500, Jefferson City, MO 65105-0500.

Missouri tax forms for the 2019 tax year and prior years are available on the department’s website. All forms and corresponding instructions can be printed directly from the website. Electronic forms print with a 2-D barcode that helps speed up processing.

Review tax credit guidelines and attach all required documentation. Individuals who are eligible for a tax credit must complete and attach Form MO-TC to their return. All supporting documentation or required forms, schedules, certifications, etc., must also be included with their Form MO-TC and return. Go to the department’s “Miscellaneous Tax Credits” page for additional information.

The Missouri Property Tax Credit Claim gives credit to certain senior citizens and 100 percent disabled individuals for a portion of the real estate taxes or rent they have paid for the year. Individuals who rent from a facility that does not pay property taxes are not eligible for a Property Tax Credit.

Review and update the Employee’s Withholding Certificate (Form MO W-4), if applicable. Following significant tax changes at the federal level, the department updated and simplified the MO W-4 at the start of 2019. Employees can complete a “Paycheck Checkup” using the department’s withholding calculator to determine if their employer is withholding their preferred amount from their paycheck. The department strongly encourages all employees to review their federal and state withholdings annually and whenever a major life change has occurred.

Use the department’s online services and resources.

• The department’s Tax Return Status Tracker allows customers to enroll in automatic text and email alerts that are sent each time the status of their return is updated. Customers need their Social Security number, filing status and anticipated refund or balance due to enroll and must re-enroll each year.

• Get answers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by reviewing the Personal Tax FAQs or with the help of the department’s new chatbot, DORA, a virtual assistant programmed to respond to common taxation, motor vehicle and driver licensing questions.

• Email questions to income@dor.mo.gov.

Ask questions in person or by phone.

• Taxpayer Assistance Offices are available in six locations throughout the state. As services vary by location, customers are encouraged to review the list of offered services before visiting. Note that individual income tax preparation services are not available.

• Assistance with individual income tax preparation might be available from a volunteer program in the area. Check these resources for additional information: IRS Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers, University of Missouri Extension Taxpayer Education and AARP Foundation Tax-Aide.

• Customers can reach the department’s Taxation Division at (573) 751-3505 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Taxpayers have until April 15 to file their 2019 tax returns.

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