The IRS has reminded taxpayers to take extra precautions to file accurate tax returns electronically to speed refunds as the agency begins the 2022 tax filing season. The IRS is now accepting and processing 2021 tax returns. Over 160 million individual tax returns for the 2021 tax year are expected to be filed. Most taxpayers face an April 18, 2022, deadline due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C. falling on April 15. Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts will have an April 19 deadline due to Patriots Day. Disaster victims in some locations will have later filing deadlines. As several critical tax law changes took place in 2021, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig noted that taxpayers must take special care this year. He stated that taxpayers should file electronically as filing a paper tax return this year will mean an extended refund delay. Further, Rettig stated that the IRS will work hard to catch up on past tax returns affected by the pandemic and deliver refunds quickly.
Most taxpayers who file a return with no issues will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically if they choose direct deposit. Additionally, the IRS has issued the following tips for a smooth filing season:
- Taxpayers should file electronically with direct deposit and avoid a paper tax return to avoid refund delays. Taxpayers may also use Free File on IRS.gov.
- Taxpayers must file an accurate return to avoid processing delays, extensive refund delays, and later IRS notices.
- Taxpayers who received a third Economic Impact Payment or advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) in 2021 should ensure that they enter these amounts correctly on the tax return. The IRS will need to further review the tax return in case of incorrect entries. The IRS is mailing special letters about stimulus payments and advance CTC payment amounts to help taxpayers. Taxpayers can check the amount of their payments in their Online Account available on IRS.gov.
- By law, the IRS cannot issue a refund involving Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional CTC before mid-February. Eligible taxpayers may file their returns beginning on January 24.
- The IRS has urged taxpayers to use online resources for help and avoid phone delays. Taxpayers should check IRS.gov for refund information and answers to tax questions. Taxpayers can also get information quickly by establishing an Online Account on IRS.gov.
- Individuals who do not normally file a return and did not file a 2020 return should file a 2021 return to receive the credits for which they are eligible. These credits include the Recovery Rebate Credit, advance CTC or the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Taxpayers should use IRS.gov to get answers to tax questions, check refund status, and pay taxes. Online tools and resources are available 24 hours a day.
- IRS Free File is available to any individual or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. One-on-one tax preparation help around the nation is available for qualified taxpayers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs.
- Taxpayers whose tax returns from 2020 have not yet been processed can still file their 2021 tax returns. These taxpayers, if filing electronically, need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from their most recent tax return. Taxpayers who are waiting on their 2020 tax return to be processed should enter zero dollars for last year’s AGI on their 2021 tax return.
- The filing deadline is April 18 for most taxpayers. Automatic six-month extensions of time to file are available for anyone by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.