In 2021, the IRS started accepting tax returns on Feb. 12, which was about two weeks later than usual. In previous years, the IRS set its income tax acceptance date on or around Jan. 27.
With the 2022 tax filing season upon us, you might have already started gathering your tax forms and documents to get a head start on filing your 2021 taxes.
So, when will the IRS start accepting tax returns in 2022? Here's what we know so far.
Has the IRS announced when it will start accepting tax returns in 2022?
The IRS announced that it will begin accepting 2021 tax returns on Jan 24, 2022. This is the date when the IRS will begin accepting individual 2021 tax returns and processing will begin. The IRS stated that “the January 24 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to perform programming and testing that is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly.”
Although the IRS won’t officially “open its doors” until Jan. 24, that doesn’t mean you can’t start filing your tax returns now. The IRS announced that the IRS Free File will open on Jan. 14, 2022, allowing you to submit your completed return which will then be held and filed electronically come Jan. 24.
As of December 28, 2021, the IRS had processed all of the tax returns it received prior to April 2021. Essentially, this means that the agency still has to process returns that were filed after April. In a recent press release, the IRS stated that it was also having to correct many more errors on tax returns than in previous years.
These factors alone could delay the IRS in being able to start processing 2021 tax returns at the end of January 2022. Also, the IRS is still sending out Letter 6419 to families, which outlines how much they received in CTC (Child Tax Credit) payments in 2021.
The IRS Free File program allows individuals who earned $73,000 or less in 2021 to file their taxes electronically for free. Companies like TurboTax are also allowing taxpayers to file their taxes now given all the forms they need are ready to be submitted.
Could there still be delays in getting 2021 tax returns processed?
Seeing that the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much a concern, there is a chance it could interfere with the IRS’s ability to process the returns it receives in a timely manner. As you know, the pandemic has led to multiple school closures across the nation which means the IRS’s operations could potentially be at risk of being impacted as well.
Additionally, the IRS is still working to process returns it received after April 2021. As of Dec. 28, 2021, the IRS had processed all tax returns it received prior to April 2021. In a recent press release, the IRS stated that it was also having to correct many more errors on tax returns than in previous years.
While these factors alone could delay the IRS from being able to begin processing 2021 tax returns, the agency did say IRS teams have been working “non-stop” over the last few months to prepare for the 2022 tax filing season.
When will the IRS issue tax refunds in 2022?
The IRS says it typically issues refunds in 21 days or less after accepting your return. However, if you are planning on claiming the CTC (Child Tax Credit) or the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) for 2021, your acceptance date could be delayed.
When you file a tax return and claim either the CTC or EITC, the IRS spends more time verifying the information to ensure it is accurate. Approximately 35 million families received CTC payments in 2021, which means they will have to wait longer than others for the IRS to issue their refund.
The IRS did state in a recent press release, however, that by law, the agency could not begin issuing refunds involving the EITC or CTC before mid-February. While you still will be able to file your 2021 tax return on Jan. 24, your refund won’t be processed until mid-February.
How can you get a head start on filing your tax return in 2022?
If you’re ready to begin filling out your 2021 tax return, companies like TurboTax are already allowing you to input your information into their system so that once the IRS begins accepting tax returns on Jan. 24, 2022, your return is ready to submit.
If you don’t have all the documentation needed to complete your 2021 tax return, start putting what you do have aside until all your tax forms are ready. While you wait for your W-2s or other tax forms to be released, you might also want to document any cryptocurrency you earned through digital sales as the IRS will be asking for this.
Now, before you submit your return for processing, remember to check your figures and information to ensure it is correct. This year, the IRS is urging anyone who received CTCs in 2021 to input the exact amounts they received when filing their 2021 tax return. If the figures don’t match with the IRS’s database, this will delay the processing of your return and the issuance of your refund.
With that said, if you did receive CTC payments in 2021, wait for Letter 6419 before filing your taxes or log in to your IRS account to confirm the amounts.
Will the 2022 tax filing deadline be the same as last year?
In 2021, the IRS postponed the tax filing deadline to May 17 to account for the delays the COVID-19 pandemic had caused. This year, the IRS is setting the tax filing deadline to Monday, April 18 for most people in the U.S. due to the observation of the Emancipation Day holiday.
If you reside in Maine or Mass., your tax filing deadline is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19. If you aren’t able to get your tax returns filed by these dates, you must request an extension by April 18 or 19 depending on where you live.