The IRS will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns on Friday, Feb.12, 2021.
People who are ready to file can begin filing their tax returns with tax prep software, including IRS Free File. Software providers are accepting completed tax returns now and holding them until the IRS begins processing returns on Friday, Feb.12. The quickest way for taxpayers to get a tax refund is by filing electronically and choosing direct deposit for their refund.
Most earned income tax credit or advanced child tax credit related refunds should be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by the first week of March if they choose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.
By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds before mid-February for tax returns that claim the earned income tax credit or ACTC. The IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with EITC or ACTC. This helps ensure taxpayers receive the refund they deserve and gives the agency more time to detect and prevent errors and fraud.
To make filing easier, taxpayers should:
File electronically and use direct deposit for the quickest refunds.
Check IRS.gov for the latest tax information. There is no need to call the IRS.
Those who may have been eligible for stimulus payments should carefully review their eligibility for the recovery rebate credit. Most people received Economic Impact Payments automatically and those who received the maximum amount don’t need to include any information about their payments when they file.
They received the full amounts of both Economic Impact Payments if:
Their first Economic Impact Payment was $1,200 for individuals; $2,400 married filing jointly for 2020, plus $500 for each qualifying child born in 2020.
Their second Economic Impact Payment was $600 for individuals; $1,200 married filing jointly for 2020, plus $600 for each qualifying child born in 2020.
People who didn't receive the payments or only received partial payments may be eligible to claim the recovery rebate credit when they file their 2020 tax return, even if they are normally not required to file a tax return. Tax preparation software, including IRS Free File, will help taxpayers figure the amount.
Taxpayers should remember that stimulus payments they received are not taxable, and don’t reduce the amount of their refund.
Important filing season dates
Friday, Feb. 12. IRS begins 2021 tax season. Individual tax returns start being accepted, and processing begins. Thursday, April 15. The due date for filing 2020 tax returns or requesting an extension of time to file. Thursday, April 15. The due date for paying 2020 tax owed to avoid owing interest and penalties. Friday, Oct. 15. Due date to file for those requesting an extension on their 2020 tax returns.