When Does the 2021 Tax Filing Season Begin?

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The IRS just released a statement confirming that the agency will begin accepting and processing the individual filers’ tax returns on February 12, 2021. Millions of taxpayers are expected to file electronically, and many of them will qualify to file for free, or freefile. According to the IRS, more than 150 million tax returns will be filed this year.

A delay in accepting tax returns stems from the tax law changes that took place on December 27, 2020 and it is to allow the IRS to implement the changes and ensure its systems run without hiccups. There is no need to wait until February 12 to start preparing the tax returns. You can have them prepared right now through your favorite tax software, it’s just they won’t be transmitted to the IRS until February 12.

Deadline to file taxes this year is April, 15. As always, it is especially important for those who owe the government to take action by that date. Filing on time and making a payment helps avoid penalties and minimize the amount of interest owed.

This year is particularly important to plan filing taxes in advance. Because of the pandemic, the access to many in-person services is expected to be greatly reduced. The IRS offices and groups that aid in filing taxes may not be available for in-person consultations at all. The two most recognizable are The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). Many tax professionals may opt to meet clients via video conference, and going to a local H&R Block office may require a little bit more planning due to capacity restrictions.

It’s never too early to start preparing your taxes. If filing electronically, you can get a jump start and begin entering your information right now. The IRS will not be able to process your return, but this should provide ample time to get your information organized. Allowing additional time to file taxes can help cut down on errors. One other benefit of starting early is that you give yourself time to gather all the records. Many times, we remember transactions that would help reduce our tax bill, but run out of time to get the right backup before the deadline.