IRS Delays Tax Season Start Date

Senior woman on a laptop
Photo by Deflector Image / Shutterstock.com

Taxpayers hoping to get their return to the IRS quickly this year will have to wait longer than usual.

The federal agency announced today that it will not begin accepting and processing income tax returns until Feb. 12. That is about two weeks later than in recent years past. For example, last year, the tax season began on Jan. 27.

Why the delay? The IRS says waiting until Feb. 12 will give the agency time to perform extra programming and testing of IRS systems in the wake of federal tax law changes that President Donald Trump signed into law on Dec. 27. These changes include the second round of stimulus payments.

The IRS says that without the delay, tax refunds might fall behind schedule.

The agency also notes that even though the start of tax season will be later than usual, you can still begin working on your return now:

“People can begin filing their tax returns immediately with tax software companies, including IRS Free File partners. These groups are starting to accept tax returns now, and the returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting Feb. 12.”

It is estimated that more than 150 million federal income tax returns will be filed this year. Last year, the average tax refund was more than $2,500.

The deadline for filing your federal tax return is April 15. The IRS expects 90% of taxpayers to get their refunds within 21 days of filing if they file electronically and use direct deposit, assuming there are no issues with their returns.

Before diving into your return, make sure you understand how tax law has changed over the last year. For more, check out “10 Ways Your Income Taxes Will Be Different in 2021.”

Millions of Americans use tax software when filing their taxes. Examples of such software include:

However, if you plan to use tax software, make sure you take one crucial step to protect your personal information. For more, check out “Be Sure to Do This With Your Tax Software.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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