As the 2022 Tax Day approaches, many people have two things on their minds: Deadlines and refunds.
This year, the filing date is later than usual.
Here's what you need to know about the 2022 tax deadline, and tax refunds this year.
When is the 2022 Deadline to File Taxes?
While most Americans will have filed their taxes prior to Tax Day — which generally falls on April 15 — that isn’t the deadline for filing this year.
Instead, the vast majority of Americans will have to file their taxes by Monday, April 18.
The date change is due to Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in Washington D.C. marking the freeing of slaves, that is celebrated on April 16.
Federal employees are given the day off, including at the Internal Revenue Service.
This year, April 16 falls on a Saturday, meaning that the nearest weekday is on the 15th of the month.
As a result, the deadline for tax filing is pushed forward to April 18.
How soon are tax refunds issued?
According to the IRS, one out of 10 refunds is issued in less than 21 days.
As of the week ending April 1, the IRS has sent out more than 63 million refunds worth over $204 billion.
What's the Average Tax Refund?
The average refund is $3,226, according to the IRS.
How Can I Check the Status of my Tax Return?
The Illinois Department of Revenue said "in addition to free filing of Form IL-1040 through MyTax Illinois, individuals may also utilize the site to make payments, respond to department inquiries, and check the status of their refunds using the Where's My Refund? link."
Taxpaers can also calling the automated refund hotline at 1-800-829-1954.
"Where's My Refund?" can be used to check the status of a tax return within 24 hours after an e-file acceptance notification is received.
The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is updated only once every 24 hours. If it's been more than 21 days since a tax return was e-filed or more than six weeks since mailing a return, taxpayers can call a tax help hotline to talk to a representative.
What if I'm Still Awaiting my 2020 Tax Return?
The IRS says it "continues to make progress in this area and has taken numerous steps to help address this issue."
If you are still awaiting a 2020 tax return, you do not need to wait for it to be fully processed in order to file your 2021 taxes.
According to the IRS, those with unprocessed 2020 tax returns, should enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year's AGI on their 2021 tax return when electronically filing.
What About the Earned Income Tax Credit?
Are you eligible for an earned income tax credit? If you weren't last year, that may have changed.
Under new guidelines, more people without children qualify to receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the federal government's largest refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income families, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The tax claim could help taxpayers get an even bigger return, but according to the Illinois Department of Revenue, many Illinois residents are missing out.
The EITC and its Illinois counterpart, the Illinois Earned Income Credit (EIC), could bring bigger returns for eligible filers. But you'll need to claim it on your tax return in order to see the benefits.
In a change from past years, the federal credit is now available to more younger workers and senior citizens without children. To qualify, workers must be at least 19 years old and older than 64, according to the IRS. Previously, the credit for those with no dependents was only available for people age 25 to 64.
What About the Child Tax Credit?
Millions of Americans who have never filed a tax return will need to do so this year in order to claim what's coming to them under the enhanced child tax credit.
Previously, only people who earned enough money to owe income taxes could qualify for the full credit.
But as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, President Joe Biden expanded the program, increasing the payments to up to $3,600 annually for each child aged 5 or under and $3,000 for those who are ages 6 to 17.
The monthly payments have amounted to $300 for each child 5 and younger and $250 for those between 5 and 17.
The government began to send the payments out — an overall $93 billion — on a monthly basis starting last July. Now, there are an additional six months' worth of payments waiting to be claimed. And some families haven't collected any of the benefits they're due yet. In all, an estimated $193 billion is yet to be claimed.
The only way to receive that money is to file a tax return.
Who Do I Contact if I Have Questions?
The IDR said it plans to extend its phone hours on April 15 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on April 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help answer residents' questions.
For the most up-to-date information, forms, schedules, and instructions for the 2022 tax season, residents can check tax.illinois.gov.
What Can I do to Avoid Filing Mistakes?
Here are some recommendations from the IRS:
File electronically. Taxpayers can use their computer, smartphone or tablet to file their taxes electronically, whether through IRS Free File or other e-file service providers, to help reduce mistakes. Tax software guides people through each section of their tax return using a question-and-answer format. Enter information carefully. This includes any information needed to calculate credits and deductions. Using tax software should help prevent math errors, but taxpayers should always review their tax return for accuracy.
Use the correct filing status. Tax software, including IRS Free File, also helps prevent mistakes when selecting a tax return filing status. If taxpayers are unsure about their filing status, the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help them choose the correct status, especially if more than one filing status applies.
Answer the virtual currency question. The 2021 Form 1040 and 1040-SR asks whether at any time during 2021, a person received, sold, exchanged or otherwise disposed of any financial interest in any virtual currency. Taxpayers should not leave this field blank but should check either “Yes” or “No.”
Report all taxable income. Underreporting income may lead to penalties and interest. Organized tax records help avoid errors that lead to processing delays and may also help to find overlooked deductions or credits. Taxpayers should have all their income documents on hand before starting their tax return. Examples are Forms W-2, 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC.
Include unemployment compensation. The IRS is seeing situations where people are not including unemployment compensation they received in 2021 on their tax returns. Although a special law allowed taxpayers to exclude unemployment compensation from taxes in 2020, it was only for that year. Unemployment compensation received in 2021 is generally taxable, so taxpayers should include it as income on their tax return.
Double-check name, birth date and Social Security number entries. Taxpayers must correctly list the name, Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth for each person they claim as a dependent on their individual income tax return. Enter each SSN and individual’s name on a tax return exactly as printed on the Social Security card. If a dependent or spouse does not have and is not eligible to get a SSN, list the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a SSN.
Double check routing and account numbers. Requesting direct deposit of a federal refund into one, two or even three accounts is convenient and allows the taxpayer access to their money faster. Make sure the financial institution routing and account numbers entered on the return are accurate. Incorrect numbers can cause a refund to be delayed or deposited into the wrong account. Taxpayers can also use their refund to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds.
Mail paper returns to the right address. Paper filers should confirm the correct address for where to file on IRS.gov or on form instructions to avoid processing delays. Note that processing paper tax returns could take much longer than usual. Taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to file electronically if possible.
Sign and date the return. If filing a joint return, both spouses must sign and date the return. E-filers can sign using a self-selected personal identification number (PIN). Taxpayers should review the special instructions to validate their 2021 electronic tax return if their 2020 return has not yet been processed.
Keep a copy. When ready to file, taxpayers should make a copy of their signed return and all schedules for their records.
Request an extension, if needed. Taxpayers who cannot meet the April 18 deadline can easily request a six-month filing extension to Oct. 17 and prevent late filing penalties. Use Free File or Form 4868. But keep in mind that, while an extension grants additional time to file, tax payments are still due April 18 for most taxpayers.