NATION—Monday, January 28, marked the start of 2019 tax filing season, beginning just after the federal government's 35-day shutdown came to a temporary close.

Tax payers have from now until April 15 to file their tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue via mailed paper forms or online through www.IRS.gov and PA Direct File.

A release issued Monday notes the service anticipates more than 150 million individual returns to be filed this year, with most refunds expected to be delivered to taxpayers within 21 days.

For speed and security, the IRS recommends e-filing tax returns and requesting refunds to be deposited directly into one's bank account.

Tax form 1040 has been redesigned this year using a “building block” method which can add extra tax schedules as needed, states a release.

Also new in effect this year, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is in full effect after passing Congress in late December 2017.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig described the act as “...the biggest tax law changes in 30 years.”

More information about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is available online from IRS Publication 5307 and Publication 5318.

When filing taxes, one should make sure to have all necessary forms at hand.

These include: W-2 forms and other income statements, proof of health insurance coverage, earning statements, interest statements, pertinent receipts and other supporting documentation.

Taxpayers with income lower than $66,000 can make use of the IRS' Free File Software to file electronically using tax software to aid their process.

Free File Software also has option for taxpayers to pay state tax returns.

Those making more than $66,000 can make use of Free File Fillable Forms, but they must know how to do their taxes themselves.

Once taxes are filed, taxpayers can keep track of expected refunds via the “Where's my Refund” tool available on the IRS website and through the IRS2Go mobile app.

More information and tools to assist the filing of federal tax returns is available online at www.IRS.gov.

More information about filing Pennsylvania state taxes is available online at www.revenue.pa.gov.

--Information from a release was used in this story.