Tax Season

Here's How to Get Ahead of Tax Return Delays as IRS Opens Filing Season Early

1040 Individual Income tax return form with Refund Check and hundred dollar bills on beige background

As the Internal Revenue Service opens tax season early in anticipation of coronavirus-related delays, the Illinois CPA Society suggested getting a head start on filing tax returns.

The IRS will start the tax filing season 17 days earlier than last year, beginning Jan. 24, citing potential challenges due to an increase in COVID-19 infections nationwide and less funding authorization from Congress.

Here's what IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said to do in order to avoid or minimize tax return and refund processing and delays:

  1. Avoid filing a paper tax return. Rettig added that receiving refunds through direct deposit will be "more important than ever this year."
  2. Report COVID-19 Economic Impact and advance Child Tax Credit payments. According to Rettig, taxpayers who received these payments must report them correctly on their tax returns to avoid processing delays.

The deadline for filing individual tax returns is April 18, Illinois CPA Society reminded, which is three days later than the traditional April 15 deadline due to an Emancipation Holiday in Washington, D.C.

Taxpayers will also have until April 18 to request a filing extension, which gives people until Oct. 17 to file their 2021 returns.

According to the Illinois CPA Society, the IRS anticipates most taxpayers who are due refunds will receive them within 21 days of electronic filing, barring any issues with the tax return.

CNBC reported that the IRS still had not processed 6 million individual returns already submitted by taxpayers as of Dec. 23, according to the agency, and the situation may get worse as the new tax season kicks off.

"In many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs," Rettig said in a statement.

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