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2022 Tax Season Begins – IRS Urges Taxpayers to File Electronically

Plus IRS Tips for a Smooth Tax Season

The IRS has officially announced the start of the tax filing season and released several reminders for taxpayers this year. This article covers important information about the current (2022) tax season as well as relevant tax tips from IRS publications and news releases.

IRS Begins 2022 Tax Season

The IRS kicked off the 2022 tax filing season on January 24. The start of this year’s tax season signals that the IRS is now accepting and processing 2021 tax returns. More than 160 million individual tax returns for the 2021 tax year are expected to be filed, with most before the April 18 tax deadline.

Note that most taxpayers face an April 18 deadline this year because of the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C. that falls on April 15. Taxpayers in Massachusetts and Maine will have an April 19 deadline because of Patriots Day. Additionally, disaster victims have later tax filing deadlines in some locations.

The IRS is reminding taxpayers to take extra precautions this year and be on alert for potential tax scams. The IRS also encourages people to file electronically for an accurate tax return and to help speed up processing of tax refunds. According to the IRS, last year’s average tax refund was more than $2,800.

File Electronically for Faster Refund, Avoid Delays

IRS Commissioner, Chuck Rettig, says that taxpayers need to take special care this year due to several critical tax law changes that took place in 2021 and ongoing challenges related to the pandemic. “IRS employees are working hard to deliver a successful 2022 tax season while facing enormous challenges related to the pandemic,” Rettig said. “There are important steps people can take to ensure they avoid processing delays and get their tax refund as quickly as possible. We urge people to carefully review their taxes for accuracy before filing. And they should file electronically with direct deposit if at all possible; filing a paper tax return this year means an extended refund delay.”

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For most taxpayers who file a tax return with no issues, the IRS estimates they will receive their tax refund within 21 days of when they file electronically if they choose direct deposit (a timetable that is similar to previous years).

“There are simple steps that people can take that will help them navigate this challenging tax season,” Rettig said. “Filing electronically and using online resources instead of calling are just some of the steps that can help people avoid delays.”

“IRS employees will do everything possible with the available resources to serve taxpayers this year,” Rettig continued. “We will work hard to deliver refunds quickly, serve as many people as possible and work to catch up on past tax returns affected by the pandemic.”

RELATED: The Benefits of Filing Your Taxes Online

IRS Tips for a Smooth Tax Season

Keep the following tips in mind when you’re preparing and filing your 2021 tax return (Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR).

Get a Fastest Refunds by E-Filing: Filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is very important to avoid tax refund delays. If you need a tax refund quickly, do not file on paper – use software, a trusted tax professional or Free File on the IRS website.

File an Accurate Tax Return to Avoid Delays: More than ever this year, the IRS urges people to make sure they’re ready to file an accurate tax return. An accurate tax return can avoid processing delays, extensive refund delays, and later IRS notices.

Special Care for Stimulus Check & Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) Recipients: The IRS also encourages caution to those people who received a third stimulus check (a.k.a. Economic Impact Payment) or advance Child Tax Credit in 2021. Taxpayers should ensure the amounts they’ve received are entered correctly on the tax return. Incorrect entries when reporting these payments mean the IRS will need to further review the tax return, creating an extensive delay. To help taxpayers, the IRS is mailing special letters about the stimulus payments and advance Child Tax Credit payment amounts. People can also check the amount of their payments in their Online Account available on the IRS website.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit Refunds: By law, the IRS cannot issue a refund involving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February, though eligible people may file their returns beginning on January 24. The law provides this additional time to help the IRS stop fraudulent refunds from being issued.

Avoid Phone Delays by Using Online Resources: The IRS website is the quickest and easiest option for help. IRS assisted phone lines continue to receive record numbers of calls, more than the agency can handle with its limited resources. Avoid delays by checking first for refund information and answers to tax questions.

Don’t Normally File a Return? Consider Filing for CTC, Other Valuable Credits: For people who don’t normally file a tax return (and didn’t file a 2020 return or use the online Non-Filers tool), they can still qualify for important credits they’re eligible for – including the Recovery Rebate Credit (stimulus payment), advance Child Tax Credit, or the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS encourages people in this group to file a 2021 tax return so they can receive all the credits for which they’re eligible.

See If You Qualify for Free Tax Prep & Filing: IRS Free File is available to any person or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021. Qualified taxpayers can also find free one-on-one tax preparation help around the nation through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs.

2020 Tax Return Still Being Processed? Tips to Help With Filing 2021 Tax Return: For people whose tax returns from 2020 have not yet been processed, they can still file their 2021 tax returns. For those filing electronically in this group, here’s a critical point: Taxpayers need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from their most recent tax return when they file electronically. For those waiting on their 2020 tax return to be processed, make sure to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s AGI on the 2021 tax return.

April 18 Tax Deadline: The filing deadline is April 18, 2022 for most taxpayers. Automatic 6-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).

RELATED: Common Tax Questions & Answers

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