On January 15, 2021, the IRS announced that the 2021 tax filing season for the tax year 2020 will start on Friday, February 12, 2021. On that day, the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns.
The February 12 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits. This programming work is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly. If the 2021 tax filing season were to open without the correct programming in place, then there could be a delay in issuing refunds to taxpayers. These changes ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.
“Planning for the nation’s filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop to prepare for this as well as delivering Economic Impact Payments in record time,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Given the pandemic, this is one of the nation’s most important filing seasons ever. This start date will ensure that people get their needed tax refunds quickly while also making sure they receive any remaining stimulus payments they are eligible for as quickly as possible.”
Last year’s average tax refund was more than $2,500. More than 150 million tax returns are expected to be filed during the 2021 Tax Filing Season, with the vast majority before the Thursday, April 15, 2021, deadline.
Under the PATH Act, the IRS cannot issue a refund involving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The law provides this additional time to help the IRS stop fraudulent refunds and claims from being issued, including to identity thieves.
The IRS anticipates a first week of March refund for many EITC and ACTC taxpayers if they file electronically with direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax returns. This would be the same experience for taxpayers if the filing season opened in late January. Taxpayers will need to check ‘Where’s My Refund’ on the IRS website IRS.gov under ‘Refunds’ for their personalized refund date. Overall, the IRS anticipates nine out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically with direct deposit if there are no issues with their tax return.
Here are some important 2021 Tax Season deadlines:
A. Estimated Tax Deadlines: April 15, 2021; June 15, 2021; September 15, 2021; and January 15, 2022.
B. Individual Income Tax Returns: April 15, 2021 for US taxpayers who live in the United States; June 15, 2021, for US taxpayers who live outside of the United States (their tax payment deadline is still April 15); October 15, 2021, for extended tax returns; December 15, 2021, special extension for US taxpayers who reside overseas.
C. Partnership and S-Corporations: March 15, 2021; if extended, September 15, 2021.
D. C-Corporations: April 15, 2021; if extended, October 15, 2021.
E. Forms 3520-A: for calendar-year foreign trusts, March 15, 2021; extension is possible until September 15, 2021.
F. Form 3520: April 15, 2021; extension is possible until October 15, 2021.
G. FBARs: April 15, 2021; extension is possible until October 15, 2021.
H. International Information Returns filed with US tax returns (Forms 5471, 8621, 8865, 926, et cetera): same deadline as for the US income tax return with which these international information returns are filed.