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As Tax Season Gets Closer, Here are Key Dates and Enhancements by IRS to be Kept in Mind

The 2024 tax season commences on January 29, with the IRS set to process over 128 million returns. Key improvements include enhanced customer service and the new Direct File service for free filing.
Current federal tax forms are distributed at the offices of the Internal Revenue Service | Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson
Current federal tax forms are distributed at the offices of the Internal Revenue Service | Getty Images | Photo by Scott Olson
 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building | Getty Images | Photo by Zach Gibson
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building | Getty Images | Photo by Zach Gibson

As we move further into the new year, taxpayers across the United States gear up for the annual tradition of filing their taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the 2024 tax season will officially commence on January 29th, welcoming submissions for the 2023 tax year. With a host of improvements and new services in place, this year promises an efficient and user-friendly experience for filers.

The IRS is set to begin accepting and processing 2023 tax returns from January 29th, anticipating over 128 million returns by the April 15 deadline. Benefiting from the Inflation Reduction Act's funding, the IRS is set to continue elevating its customer service. "With new funding, we're focused on easing the process of filing taxes," says IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. This includes shorter wait times for phone support, better digital submission processes, and improvements to the 'Where’s My Refund?' tool. Additionally, the new Direct File service will enable eligible taxpayers in certain states to file directly with the IRS for free.

Taxpayers can start preparing their returns with the necessary forms, such as W-2s or 1099-NECs, which are due by the end of January. Early filing is possible through various tax preparation services, but remember that the IRS will not process any returns before January 29th. It is crucial to have all your paperwork to avoid amendments post-filing. With the IRS Free File program opening on January 12, those with incomes up to $79,000 can file for free, as the Direct File pilot program has further eased the process for eligible individuals in 13 states.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich:
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich:

The standard deadline for 2024 tax filing is April 15. However, residents of Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17 due to local holidays. Those in federally declared disaster areas may receive additional time. For those needing extra time, Form 4868 can be filed for an extension, pushing the deadline to October 15. It’s important to note that while this extends the filing deadline, it does not grant extra time for tax payments due.

For most filers, the IRS typically issues refunds within 21 days, especially for those filing electronically and choosing direct deposit. Complicated returns or paper submissions may take longer, and early filers claiming certain tax credits should expect delays until mid-February. Taxpayers can track their refund status using the IRS's 'Where’s My Refund?' tool available on the IRS website and the IRS2Go app.

To sum things up, as the IRS introduces various improvements and new services, the 2024 tax season looks set to be more efficient than ever. By staying informed about key dates, preparing documents early, understanding the available tools and services, and keeping track of their refund status, taxpayers can navigate this tax season in a hassle-free manner.