The IRS Free File program opened January 14 and participating providers will accept completed returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically with the IRS. Many commercial tax preparation software companies and tax professionals will also be accepting and preparing tax returns before January 24 to submit the returns when the IRS systems open.
The IRS’s 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.
In addition to IRS Free File, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified taxpayers.
IRS letters have been issued about advance Child Tax Credit payments and third Economic Impact Payments
According to the IRS, Eligible taxpayers who received advance Child Tax Credit payments should file a 2021 tax return to receive the second half of the credit. Eligible taxpayers who did not receive advance Child Tax Credit payments can claim the full credit by filing a tax return.
The IRS will begin issuing Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment, to people who received a third payment in 2021 in late January. While most eligible taxpayers already received their stimulus payments, this letter will help individuals determine if they are eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit for missing stimulus payments. If so, they must file a 2021 tax return to claim their remaining stimulus amount. People can also use IRS online account to view their Economic Impact Payment amounts.
Both letters include important information that can help people file an accurate 2021 tax return. If the return includes errors or is incomplete, it may require further review while the IRS corrects the error, which may slow the tax refund. Using this information when preparing a tax return electronically can reduce errors and avoid delays in processing.
The fastest way for eligible individuals to get their 2021 tax refund that will include their allowable Child Tax Credit and Recovery Rebate Credit is by filing electronically and choosing direct deposit.
There also are several important dates taxpayers should keep in mind for this year’s filing season:
January 14: IRS Free File opens. Taxpayers can begin filing returns through IRS Free File partners; tax returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting January 24. Tax software companies also are accepting tax filings in advance.
January 18: Due date for tax year 2021 fourth quarter estimated tax payment.
January 24: IRS begins 2022 tax season. Individual 2021 tax returns begin being accepted and processing begins
January 28: Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day to raise awareness of valuable tax credits available to many people – including the option to use prior-year income to qualify.
April 18: Due date to file 2021 tax return or request extension and pay tax owed due to Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C., even for those who live outside the area.
April 19: Due date to file 2021 tax return or request extension and pay tax owed for those who live in MA or ME due to Patriots’ Day holiday
October 17: Due date to file for those requesting an extension on their 2021 tax returns