We live in a time where millions of people are strapped for money and are counting on their income tax refund. But unfortunately, people will have to wait for a little longer as the IRS will start accepting returns on February 12, which is later than usual. Tax seasons usually start on January 27.

The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, will start to accept and process returns on February 12, 2021. April 15 will be the last day for citizens to file their taxes unless they apply for an extension. Extensions allow the people to submit their returns by October 15. Even with an extension, citizens are obligated to pay any amount of money they owed by April 15, unless they arranged a repayment plan.

The Treasury Department extended the filing deadline to July 15 last year. The department extended the deadline to avoid putting taxpayers to an even tighter early spring cash crunch if ever they owed. Last Friday, the IRS stated that they would start the tax season a little later to give them some time to test systems and avoid delays when issuing refunds.

The IRS is coming off a year after it temporarily closed down offices due to the COVID-19 pandemic, distributed one round of stimulus checks, and started cutting another round. Last year, in early December, the tax collection agency processed 1 million tax returns that had been mailed in during last year’s tax season.

The IRS suggested to people to file their taxes electronically with direct deposit information. The average refund last tax season was above $2,500. Taxpayers will also have an opportunity to claim their stimulus check money that they missed in 2020. By February 14, 2020, the agency had processed 38.3 million returns and 18.1 million refunds.

The IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, is aware that many citizens depend on tax returns this year. In a statement, the commissioner says that this is one of the nation’s most essential filing seasons because of the pandemic. He added that the start date (February 12) will ensure that taxpayers will quickly get their tax refunds. He also added that the IRS would make sure the taxpayers receive any remaining stimulus payments they are eligible for as soon as possible.

Even though the filing date will start on February 12, the IRS Free File portal opened up on January 15. The Free File portal allows taxpayers who earn less than $72,000 to file their taxes for free through partnering private tax preparation companies. By January 15, they started accepting returns and will begin beaming them over to the IRS on February 12.

Here are the critical dates for the upcoming tax season:

  • February 22 is the planned date for the IRS refund tracker to show information on refund status for people to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and the additional child tax credit. But according to law, the IRS cannot release the refunds until the middle of the month to avoid bogus claims and possible identity theft.
  • The first week in March is when refunds claiming these credits will start hitting accounts.

For low- and moderate-income families, credits are essential income sources. There are special “look back” provisions this year that will allow families to include their 2019 returns to maximize payouts from the credit.

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