The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that tax season will open on Monday, January 29, 2018. The IRS will begin accepting paper and electronic tax returns that day, with more than 155 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2018. This is a week later than had been widely reported.
Every year, taxpayers have questions about early filing. Many software companies and tax professionals will accept tax returns before opening day, January 29, 2018. That doesn’t mean that your tax return will be filed early. Those software companies and tax professionals will submit returns when IRS systems open.
Although the IRS will begin accepting both electronic and paper tax returns on January 29, 2018, paper tax returns will be processed later, in mid-February, as system updates continue. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically for faster refunds.
The filing deadline to submit 2017 tax returns is April 17, 2018. That’s because April 15 falls on a Sunday in 2018. That would normally result in a move to the following Monday (April 16, 2018). However, Emancipation Day falls on Monday, April 16 this year. Since that’s a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, the tax filing deadline will be pushed ahead for all individual taxpayers to Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
And even though it feels like extra time, it’s actually a shorter tax season. Because of the delayed start, the 2018 tax season will last just 79 days. In contrast, the 2017 tax season lasted 86 days. In 2017, the season started six days earlier (on January 23, 2017) and ran through April 18, 2017.
There’s another delay to keep in mind, too. As I reported in prior years, the law now requires the IRS to hold refunds tied to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15. There may be additional delays: factoring in weekends and the President’s Day holiday, the IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on February 27, 2018. That’s assuming that affected taxpayers opt for direct deposit and that there are no other issues with the tax return. Plan accordingly.
Remember that the rule which bars IRS from issuing refunds for taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February applies to the entire refund – even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC.
The IRS still anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Taxpayers can check out Where’s My Refund? on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go phone app for projected deposit dates.