IRS Delays Tax Filing Season to Begin Feb. 12

January 15, 2021

The IRS recently announced that the tax filing season will begin on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, when the agency will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns.

The tax season normally begins in late January, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the distribution of the latest round of Economic Impact Payments, a backlog of work from last year and changes in the tax laws seem to be delaying tax season this year. Nevertheless, the IRS announced earlier this week that all tax forms and instructions are ready and that last-minute changes to the tax laws have been included in all the tax forms and instructions.

The Feb. 12 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the Dec. 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits. The Dec. 27 changes ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.

To speed refunds during the pandemic, the IRS urges taxpayers to file electronically with direct deposit as soon as they have the information they need. People can begin filing their tax returns immediately with tax software companies, including IRS Free File partners. These groups are starting to accept tax returns now, and the returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting Feb. 12.

The deadline to file 2020 tax returns and pay any tax owed is Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Changes This Year

Most individual taxpayers will be able to file either the IRS Form 1040 or the new Form 1040-SR for seniors once they receive Forms W-2 and other earnings information from their employers and payers. The IRS has incorporated recent changes to the tax laws into the forms and instructions, and shared the updates with its partners who develop the software used by individuals and tax professionals to prepare and file their returns. Forms 1040 and 1040-SR and the associated instructions are available now on IRS.gov and are being printed for taxpayers who need a hard copy.

Economic Impact Payments are an advance payment of the Recovery Rebate Credit. Some important updates this year include the Recovery Rebate Credit worksheet on page 59 of the 1040/1040-SR instructions. Anyone who did not receive the full amount of both EIPs should include the amounts they received, before any offsets, when they file. Anyone who received the full amount for both EIPs should not include any information about the advance payments when they file their tax return.

For more information, visit the IRS website.