2022 Tax Filing Season Begins January 24
Get Ready to File & Claim Important Tax Benefits

The tax season is upon us and it's time to start preparing to file your 2021 federal income tax return (IRS Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR).

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig recently stated, "Planning for the nation's filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop these past several months to prepare. The pandemic continues to create challenges, but the IRS reminds people there are important steps they can take to help ensure their tax return and refund don't face processing delays. Filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is more important than ever this year. And we urge extra attention to those who received an Economic Impact Payment or an advance Child Tax Credit last year. People should make sure they report the correct amount on their tax return to avoid delays."

January 24, 2022: IRS Start Date for Individual Returns

The IRS will begin accepting and processing 2021 tax returns on Monday, January 24, 2022.

It's recommended that you have all the information you need in hand to make sure you file a complete and accurate return. Submitting an accurate return will help avoid processing delays, refund delays, and potential IRS notices. This is particularly important for people who received advance Child Tax Credit payments or Economic Impact Payments (a.k.a. stimulus checks) during 2021 because they will need the amounts of these payments when preparing their tax return.

April 18, 2022: Tax Filing Deadline (for Most Individuals)

The filing deadline to submit 2021 tax returns and pay tax owed is Monday, April 18, 2022 for most taxpayers. (The due date is April 18, instead of April 15, due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, DC.) Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 19, 2022, to file their returns because of the Patriots' Day holiday in those states.

If you cannot file by the due date, you should request a tax extension using Form 4868. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, October 17, 2022, to file – however, any 2021 taxes due must still be paid by the original April deadline.

File Your 2021 Return, Even If Your 2020 Return Is Still Being Processed

According to the IRS, taxpayers generally will not need to wait for their 2020 return to be fully processed to file their 2021 tax returns – you can file when you are ready. IRS employees continue to work hard on critical areas affected by the pandemic, including processing of tax returns from last year and record levels of phone calls coming in.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, "In many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs. IRS employees want to do more, and we will continue in 2022 to do everything possible with the resources available to us. And we will continue to look for ways to improve. We want to deliver as much as possible while also protecting the health and safety of our employees and taxpayers. Additional resources are essential to helping our employees do more in 2022 – and beyond."

File Electronically ("E-File") or By Paper Mail?

The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically and use Direct Deposit for faster processing of tax returns and tax refunds. Filing electronically can also help to minimize errors. Make sure you use a reputable tax preparation software company that is an Authorized IRS e-file Provider.

If you choose to fill out a paper tax return and mail it to the IRS, you can find Form 1040 and Form1040-SR (and the associated instructions, with IRS mailing addresses) on the IRS website.

IRS FreeFile

The IRS Free File program allows taxpayers who made $73,000 or less in 2021 to file their taxes electronically for free using software provided by commercial tax filing companies. The IRS opened its Free File program on January 14, which means that participating providers will accept completed returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically with the IRS (when filing season opens on January 24). Note that many commercial tax preparation software companies and tax professionals are accepting and preparing tax returns before January 24 to submit the returns when the IRS systems open.

In addition to IRS Free File, the IRS offers Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs that provide free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.

Economic Impact Payments / Recovery Rebate Credit

If you didn't qualify for a third Economic Impact Payment (a.k.a. stimulus check) or you got less than the full amount, you may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your tax return. You will need to know the total amount of your third stimulus check received to calculate your correct 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit amount when you file your 2021 tax return.

Child Tax Credit (CTC): Advance Payments

You will need to know the total amount of advance payments you received in 2021 to compare them with the full amount of the Child Tax Credit that you can properly claim when you file their 2021 tax return. People who received the advance payments can access their online account to check the total amount of their payments. The IRS is also sending Letter 6419 to provide the total amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments received in 2021. Eligible families who did not get monthly advance payments in 2021 can still get a lump-sum payment by claiming the Child Tax Credit when they file a 2021 federal income tax return this year. This includes families who don't normally need to file a tax return.