Many taxpayers’ calendars have bold stars marked on the date when their tax returns are due. Unless anticipating a large refund, few know, and fewer may care, when the IRS will begin processing those returns.

Taxpayers can begin filing tax returns in January of the succeeding tax year. Nonetheless, IRS Notice 2021-16, issued January 15, 2021, announced that the first day 2020 individual tax returns will be processed is February 12, 2021.

The Notice states that the IRS has taken this action to give it additional time to perform additional programming and testing of its electronic systems to “ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax returns.”

The Notice does not affect how early individual taxpayers can file their returns.  If a return is filed electronically, the tax software company will hold the return until February 12, 2021 and submit it to the IRS on that date.  If a return is filed on paper, the IRS will hold the return until February 12th.

For a taxpayer anticipating a refund, the IRS recommends filing electronically and directing the IRS to deposit the refund to the taxpayer’s bank account.

The Notice states that, absent issues with a return, the IRS expects nine out of 10 taxpayers to receive their refund within 21 days of processing if the return is filed electronically and the IRS is directed to deposit the refund to the taxpayer’s bank account.

And unlike last year, when the due date for individual returns was extended, tax returns for the year 2020 are due April 15, 2021.

If you have questions regarding any 2020 tax issues, including any pandemic-related impact on your taxes, contact your FOS attorney.

Be well.