Today marks the start of tax season, as Louisiana residents can begin filing federal and state income taxes. Baton Rouge CPA Brandon Lagarde says if you plan to use a tax preparer to file your taxes, make sure you have all your documentation together and organized.

“The best way you can help us out and help compliance is get organized, get your stuff in, and that would go a long way to help the process,” Lagarde said.

Federal taxes are due April 18th this year, while state taxes must be filed by May 15th.

Lagarde says refunds might take a little longer this year. He says measures to prevent identity theft have been enacted at the state and federal levels, and this red tape can lead to delays.

“When you start putting checks and balances into place to have a little more time to match those documents, it’s going to take longer to get refunds,” Lagarde said.

Lagarde says filing taxes will be a little different this year for many Louisiana residents who were affected by the March and August floods. He says flood victims can claim their casualty losses.

“If you have an unreimbursed loss to property or to your home or to any other assets you have, certainly that is a benefit you get. Both the state and federal will give you that,” Lagarde said.