Opening Day for the 2022 tax season is upon us. The IRS announced last week that the first day they will begin accepting and processing 2022 tax returns is January 23. Its estimated that more than 168 million individual returns are expected to be filed and most of those will be coming in ahead of the April 18 deadline. Yes, I said April 18. You get a few extra days this year because of how the usual filing deadline and Emancipation Day in DC falls on the calendar. If you request an extension (which I only recommend if you absolutely must), your return will be due on October 16.
With the majority of returns expected before the April 18 deadline, it's important to get your return filed as soon as you possibly can. This won’t be the first time you've heard about the IRS backlog (although that’s improved a great deal) and you don’t want to fall victim to it this year. Waiting to file your return could mean you wait even longer for any refund you may be entitled to receive. The IRS has hired more than 5000 new phone representatives and added more in-person staff to help support the increase in work during tax season. So, let’s cross our fingers that things move a bit more smoothly this year compared to the last few.
Though it’s important to get your return filed as soon as you can, here are some things to keep in mind:
1—The deadline to provide W-2s, 1099s, and other tax documents isn’t until January 31. So, you may not have all of your documents right away. I should also note that many banks and other entities are issuing those important tax documents electronically these days. You’ll want to make sure to check your online accounts for documents pertaining to mortgage interest or student loan interest as an example.
2—Check your return for accuracy before you file. This is true even if you paid a licensed tax professional to prepare your return. Ask questions and make sure you understand the basics of your return. This could save you and possibly your preparer a headache down the road if the IRS discovers a mistake or omission.
3—Use a licensed tax professional that specializes in tax preparation to prepare your return. Not all CPAs or Enrolled Agents focus their practice on tax preparation. Ask them what portion of their practice is tax preparation versus other tax related services. Using an experienced preparer can save you thousands in the future. You truly do get what you pay for when it comes to tax preparation.
4—Use the direct debit option if you’re due a refund. The IRS anticipates that most people will receive their refunds in about 21 days IF they filed electronically and chose direct deposit. You will have to wait until mid-February for your refund, though, if your return includes the Earned Income Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS looks at these returns more closely to help reduce fraudulent refunds being issued.
5—Once you file, you can check on the status of your return using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov.
As always, if you have questions about getting your return filed or you need help with a tax problem, don’t hesitate to reach out using the chat feature on my website or scheduling an appointment. Happy filing season!