Got your 2017 tax return filed yet? The tax season kicked off Jan. 29 and this year, the deadline to file is April 17. Here are five things you need to know:

1. How soon can I get my tax refund?

Under the law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February for returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. The earliest those refunds could show up is Feb. 27.

2. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

It is designed to help low to moderate working households. For 2017 tax returns, the maximum adjusted gross income limit for claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit is $48,340 if you are single and have three or more children to claim and $53,930 for a married couple filing jointly.

For those with no children, the income limit drops to $15,010 for single, head of household and surviving spouse filers and $20,600 for married filing jointly.

The corresponding maximum tax credits range from $510 with no qualifying children to $6,318 with three or more qualifying children.

Be sure you have all your Forms W-2, W-2G, 1099 MISC, and all other income records, even if not reported on a form, before you file your return. And, you need to report all income you earn from owning a business or farm and deduct all allowable expenses.

3. Where can you find free tax help?

Tax filers who have incomes of less than $66,000 are eligible for “Free File” software via www.irs.gov. Other volunteer tax programs exist too, including the AARP Foundation Tax -Aide program.

4. What is everybody going to do with those tax refunds?

Many taxpayers, including millennials, are most likely to say they will save the money or pay off debts, such as student loans or credit cards, according to a poll by TaxSlayer.

But some acknowledge that they will splurge, too. Roughly one in eight taxpayers say they’re going to treat themselves to a big gift, like electronics or jewelry. Roughly one in eight say they are going to use that refund money toward going on vacation or out to dinner, TaxSlayer said.

5. Where is your refund?

You can check using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at the www.irs.gov. To check your refund status, you need your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, your filing status and the exact amount of your expected refund.

 

Susan Tompor writes for the Detroit Free Press.