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IRS Delays Start Date of Filing Season: February 12, 2021

The 2021 Tax Filing Season Will Begin on Feb. 12 for Filing 2020 Income Tax Returns

While the tax filing season usually starts in late January, the IRS has delayed it this year because the agency needs more time to prepare. The IRS spent a lot of time recently working on distributing the COVID-relief stimulus payments, and is still processing millions of tax returns from the 2019 tax year.

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IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “Planning for the nation’s filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop to prepare for this as well as delivering Economic Impact Payments in record time. Given the pandemic, this is one of the nation’s most important filing seasons ever. This start date will ensure that people get their needed tax refunds quickly while also making sure they receive any remaining stimulus payments they are eligible for as quickly as possible.”

File Your 2020 Tax Return Starting on February 12, 2021

The 2021 filing season will officially open on Friday, February 12th. The IRS will start accepting and processing 2020 tax returns (Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR) on this date.

According to the IRS statement, “The February 12 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits.

“This programming work is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly. If filing season were opened without the correct programming in place, then there could be a delay in issuing refunds to taxpayers. These changes ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.”

For a faster tax refund, the IRS recommends that you file your return electronically online and choose the Direct Deposit option for your tax refund, if applicable.

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Important Tax Filing Dates for Individuals

Here are some key tax dates and deadline for 2021:

January 15, 2021

IRS Free File opens. This means that taxpayers can start preparing and filing their tax returns through IRS Free File partners. Keep in mind that tax returns will not be transmitted to the IRS until February 12, 2021 (the start of filing season). However, tax software companies are accepting tax filings in advance of the Feb. 12 start date.

January 29, 2021

This is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. The IRS uses this date to raise awareness about the various tax credits that are available to many people. For more information, see The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

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February 12, 2021

The 2021 tax filing season starts and the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual income tax returns.

February 22, 2021

The IRS projects this as the date when the Where’s My Refund online toll will be updated and ready for people who are claiming the EITC and ACTC (also known as PATH Act returns).

Starting March 1, 2021…

Those claiming the EITC and ACTC (a.k.a. PATH Act returns) will begin receiving their tax refunds if they filed electronically, chose the Direct Deposit option, and there are no issues with their tax returns.

April 15, 2021

This is the deadline for filing 2020 individual income tax returns (Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR). If you need a tax extension, you must file a tax extension request (Form 4868) to get 6 extra months to file your return.

October 15, 2021

This is the deadline to file for individuals who requested a tax extension for their 2020 tax return.

RELATED: Get Ready to File Your 2020 Tax Return


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