It’s an ideal week for taxpayers to begin gathering their war chests for the season about to dawn.

The Internal Revenue Service is defining income tax season as commencing Jan. 23 and extending to April 18. The reasons for the extra few days are April 15 falling on a Saturday and a federal holiday observed in Washington, D.C., that will occur on April 16.

Two local certified public accountants counsel it is best to take advantage of the week between the holidays this year to gird themselves for tax time.

Truman Hardy — with Sumner, Carter, Hardy & Schwichtenberg — said those who intend to file the 10-99 real estate transaction forms should do so by Jan. 31. Doing that, he said, will enable the IRS to have W-2 wage statements ready earlier this season.

Refunds coming to those with earned income and additional child care tax credits won’t be issued until after Feb. 15, Hardy added. That will allow the IRS to conduct checks against fraud.

Improved software coming online this season should help prevent identity theft, he said.

Hardy said those who fail to comply with the Affordable Care Act will essentially face twice the penalty as last year.

Nathan Howell, of CliftonLarsonAllen, said it’s important for taxpayers to speak early on with their CPAs to avoid surprises.

“Tax planning is critical as we approach year-end and many strategies depend on your specific situation,” he said.

Michael Devine, a spokesman for the IRS in St. Louis, said Saturday is the last day most taxpayers can take actions that will impact their 2016 returns.

“If you have moved, tell the post office, tell your employer and tell the IRS,” he said.

Those who have made a name change should notify the Social Security Administration, Devine said, since the IRS will go by the information that agency affirms.

“It’s going to delay the processing of your return,” he said of failure to clear the information.

Receipts from Christmas gifts and other important documents should not be discarded, according to Devine. Personal data contained on old computers and other electronic devices should be wiped clean for those who received new gear for Christmas.

The United Way of Greater St. Joseph and InterServ are once again partnering to provide free tax preparation services primarily to qualifying seniors 60 years old and older. The program has existed since 2010.

“They are able to assist a very few other individuals,” said Jodi Bloemker, the United Way’s director of community involvement.

The service will begin taking appointments on Jan. 17, with assistance available Feb. 1 through April 17. More information is available by calling 816-232-7779.

Those who don’t qualify for the United Way/InterServ program may still be eligible for assistance at, a free online tax preparation resource.