When Can You File Taxes?
Most taxpayers know that January marks the start of return filing, but they’re not exactly sure of when. So what naturally follows is the question “When can you file taxes?”
Read on for the answer to “When will I get my tax return?” and more details about the IRS refund process.
“When Can I File My Taxes?”
Each year, the IRS issues a statement in early January with the first day to file taxes.
Typically, the official date when you can file taxes falls in mid to late January.
“When Will I Get My Tax Return?”
Technically, you don’t get your tax return… You get forms that help you fill out a tax return. And if you overpay, you will get a tax refund from the IRS.
“How Can I File My Taxes?”
The IRS accepts tax returns filed one of two ways:
- Through the mail
- Electronically through e-file
A reported 88% of individual tax returns are e-filed per year. Any tax return filed by a tax professional in an H&R Block tax office, using the H&R Block tax software, or through the H&R Block online filing program is usually e-filed. (There are some outlier situations where a tax pro or online could prepare your return and you need to mail it – not common though.) However, you can always choose to have your return printed to mail yourself.
E-file is the quickest filing method — and typically helps you receive a tax refund faster.
“When Do I Get My Tax Refund?”
The answer to when will I get my tax refund depends from year to year.
Generally, the IRS has said that about 90% of refunds are issued within 21 days of when the return was received.
You can check on the status of your refund on the IRS website or at our Where’s My Refund page. Live updates will appear the same day e-file opens. Using this tool, you can easily track the progress of your return as it is processed.
“What Could Cause a Refund Delay?”
There are countless reasons your tax refund could be delayed. We’ve outlined some common instances where a delay could occur:
- If you file a paper return, the IRS says you should allow about six weeks to receive your refund.
- If the IRS mails you a physical check, you will receive a check through the mail.
- If you file Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, it could take up to 14 weeks to process your tax return.
- If your identity has been stolen and another return was filed with your social security number, it could take longer for the IRS to sort out the situation.
- If you owe a debt, like unpaid child support, your refund could be offset to pay part or all of it.
Each of the possibilities above could cause a delay or prevent receiving the refund altogether. It’s important to note that each individual’s tax scenario is unique and no two filings are handled exactly the same.
“How Can I Make Sure I Get My Refund As Fast as Possible?”
Each tax filing is as unique as the individual it represents. To help expedite the tax refund process, consider one or more of the following tips:
- Visit us at any H&R Block office to ensure your return is ready to file when e-file opens.
- Consider e-filing versus traditional paper filing.
- Complete a tax return that is free of any errors or miscalculations. This means carefully reviewing personal information such as your name, social security number, home address and bank information, if applicable.
“Can I File Taxes Before E-File Opens?”
You can use one of H&R Block’s digital products or come into an H&R Block office before the time that e-file opens to have your return prepared.
H&R Block will hold your prepared return and begin submitting it to the IRS as soon as the agency begins accepting tax returns.
The first day to file taxes varies from year to year, but generally falls in the same period in January.
Still have questions? Schedule an appointment with your local tax pro, or call 1-800-HRBLOCK for more help.
Some Puerto Rican citizens are exempt from filing with the IRS, but anyone with income from the U.S. will need to submit a return. Learn more at H&R Block.
Learn more about notice CP297, your appeal rights, and how to handle an IRS tax bill with help from the tax experts at H&R Block.
Learn more about IRS Letter 3503C, why you received the letter, and what it means for you with help from the tax experts at H&R Block.
Due to tax law changes, we know it can be difficult to estimate your refund or balance due. H&R Block experts outline how the changes are reflected in our tax reform calculator.