Get ready for taxes: Bookmark IRS.gov resources and online tools to use before, during and after filing
IR-2022-12, January 13, 2022
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers to use IRS online tools and resources to find the information they need to be ready to file their 2021 federal tax returns, including important special steps related to Economic Impact Payments and advance Child Tax Credit payments.
Individuals, especially those who don’t usually file a tax return, are urged to file their 2021 tax return electronically beginning January 24, 2022. Using tax preparation software or a trusted tax professional will help guide people through the process and avoid making errors. Filing an incomplete or inaccurate return may mean a processing delay that slows the resulting tax refund.
“There are some simple steps people can take to make sure they avoid delays and receive a quick refund,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “It’s critical this year to avoid a paper tax return whenever possible and file electronically with direct deposit. And it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re filing an accurate tax return. The IRS urges people to review some straightforward tips that can help them avoid problems and get their tax refunds quickly.”
This is the third in a series of reminders to help taxpayers get ready for the upcoming tax filing season. A special page, updated and available on IRS.gov, outlines steps taxpayers can take now to make tax filing easier.
IRS.gov tools are easy to use and available 24 hours a day. Millions of people use them to find information about their accounts, get answers to tax questions or file and pay taxes.
Recovery Rebate Credit/Economic Impact Payments
Individuals who didn’t qualify for a third Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amount may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. They will need to know the total amount of their third Economic Impact Payments received to calculate their correct 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit amount when they file their 2021 tax return. Ensuring they use the correct payment amounts will help them avoid a processing delay that may slow their refund. Beginning in late January, the IRS will send Letter 6475 with the total amount of the third Economic Impact Payment received. People can also view their economic impact payments using their Online Account.
Advance Child Tax Credit payments
People will need to know the total amount of advance payments they received in 2021 to compare them with the full amount of the Child Tax Credit that they can properly claim when they file their 2021 tax return. People who received the advance payments can access their online account to check the total amount of their payments. The IRS is also sending Letter 6419 to provide the total amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments received in 2021. Eligible families who did not get monthly advance payments in 2021 can still get a lump-sum payment by claiming the Child Tax Credit when they file a 2021 federal income tax return this year. This includes families who don’t normally need to file a return.
Interactive Tax Assistant
The Interactive Tax Assistant answers general tax law questions, including helping to determine if a type of income is taxable or if someone is eligible to claim certain credits and deductions. With changes to income and other life events for many in 2021, tax credits and deductions can mean more money in a taxpayer’s pocket. Thinking about eligibility now can help make tax filing easier.
Taxpayers can use their Online Account to securely see important information when preparing to file their tax return or following up on balances or notices. Taxpayers can view the amount they owe, make and track payments and view payment plan details. Taxpayers can now also manage their communication preferences to go paperless for certain notices from the IRS, or to receive email notifications when the IRS sends them a new digital notice. They can also access information about Economic Impact Payments and advance Child Tax Credit payments needed to file a complete and accurate return. Act now to create an account.
Where’s My Refund?
Taxpayers can check the status of their refund using the Where’s My Refund? tool. The status is available within 24 hours after the IRS accepts their e-filed tax return or up to four weeks after they mailed a paper return. The Where’s My Refund? tool updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so taxpayers only need to check once a day.
Get ready to use direct deposit for tax refunds
Direct deposit gives taxpayers access to their refund faster than a paper check. Individuals can use a bank account, prepaid debit card or mobile app to use direct deposit and will need to provide routing and account numbers. Learn how to open an account at an FDIC-Insured bank or through the National Credit Union Locator Tool. Veterans should see the Veterans Benefits Banking Program for access to financial services at participating banks.
IRS Free File
Everyone can file electronically for free. Starting January 14, the IRS Free File program, available only through IRS.gov or the IRS2Go app, offers brand-name tax preparation software packages. For those who earned $73,000 or less in 2021, they may qualify for Free File guided tax software. The software does all the work of finding deductions, credits and exemptions. Some of the Free File offers may include a free state tax return. Taxpayers comfortable filling out tax forms, can use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic federal tax forms paper version to file their tax returns online, regardless of income.
Members of the military and qualifying veterans can use MilTax, a Department of Defense program that generally offers free online tax preparation and e-filing software for federal returns and up to three state returns.
Free tax return preparation site
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free tax help and e-file for taxpayers who qualify.
Choosing a preparer
The IRS has several options for finding a tax preparer. The IRS provides an online database to help taxpayers locate an authorized e-file provider in their area who can electronically file their tax return. Choosing a Tax Professional provides information for selecting a tax professional. The Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help taxpayers find preparers in their area who currently hold professional credentials recognized by the IRS, or who hold an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion. Taxpayers need to remember that they, not the tax preparer, are responsible for information on their tax return once they sign it.
Links to online tools, publications, and other helpful resources are available on the Get Ready page. For more information about planning ahead, see Publication 5348, Get Ready to File PDF and Publication 5349, Year-Round Tax Planning is for Everyone PDF
2022 tax filing season begins Jan. 24; IRS outlines refund timing and what to expect in advance of April 18 tax deadline
IR-2022-08, January 10, 2022
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced that the nation’s tax season will start on Monday, January 24, 2022, when the tax agency will begin accepting and processing 2021 tax year returns.
The January 24 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to perform programming and testing that is critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly. Updated programming helps ensure that eligible people can claim the proper amount of the Child Tax Credit after comparing their 2021 advance credits and claim any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2021 tax return.
“Planning for the nation’s filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop these past several months to prepare,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The pandemic continues to create challenges, but the IRS reminds people there are important steps they can take to help ensure their tax return and refund don’t face processing delays. Filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is more important than ever this year. And we urge extra attention to those who received an Economic Impact Payment or an advance Child Tax Credit last year. People should make sure they report the correct amount on their tax return to avoid delays.”
The IRS encourages everyone to have all the information they need in hand to make sure they file a complete and accurate return. Having an accurate tax return can avoid processing delays, refund delays and later IRS notices. This is especially important for people who received advance Child Tax Credit payments or Economic Impact Payments (American Rescue Plan stimulus payments) in 2021; they will need the amounts of these payments when preparing their tax return. The IRS is mailing special letters to recipients, and they can also check amounts received on IRS.gov.
Like last year, there will be individuals filing tax returns who, even though they are not required to file, need to file a 2021 return to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit to receive the tax credit from the 2021 stimulus payments or reconcile advance payments of the Child Tax Credit. People who don’t normally file also could receive other credits.
April 18 tax filing deadline for most
The filing deadline to submit 2021 tax returns or an extension to file and pay tax owed is Monday, April 18, 2022, for most taxpayers. By law, Washington, D.C., holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone in the same way federal holidays do. The due date is April 18, instead of April 15, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia for everyone except taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts. Taxpayers in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19, 2022, to file their returns due to the Patriots’ Day holiday in those states. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, October 17, 2022, to file.
Awaiting processing of previous tax returns? People can still file 2021 returns
Rettig noted that IRS employees continue to work hard on critical areas affected by the pandemic, including processing of tax returns from last year and record levels of phone calls coming in.
“In many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs. This is frustrating for taxpayers, for IRS employees and for me,” Rettig said. “IRS employees want to do more, and we will continue in 2022 to do everything possible with the resources available to us. And we will continue to look for ways to improve. We want to deliver as much as possible while also protecting the health and safety of our employees and taxpayers. Additional resources are essential to helping our employees do more in 2022 – and beyond.”
The IRS continues to reduce the inventory of prior-year individual tax returns that have not been fully processed. As of December 3, 2021, the IRS has processed nearly 169 million tax returns. All paper and electronic individual 2020 refund returns received prior to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review.
Taxpayers generally will not need to wait for their 2020 return to be fully processed to file their 2021 tax returns and can file when they are ready.
Key information to help taxpayers
The IRS encourages people to use online resources before calling. Last filing season, as a result of COVID-era tax changes and broader pandemic challenges, the IRS phone systems received more than 145 million calls from January 1 – May 17, more than four times more calls than in an average year. In addition to IRS.gov, the IRS has a variety of other free options available to help taxpayers, ranging from free assistance at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly locations across the country to the availability of the IRS Free File program.
“Our phone volumes continue to remain at record-setting levels,” Rettig said. “We urge people to check IRS.gov and establish an online account to help them access information more quickly. We have invested in developing new online capacities to make this a quick and easy way for taxpayers to get the information they need.”
Last year’s average tax refund was more than $2,800. More than 160 million individual tax returns for the 2021 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the traditional April tax deadline.
Overall, the IRS anticipates most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically if they choose direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax return. The IRS urges taxpayers and tax professionals to file electronically. To avoid delays in processing, people should avoid filing paper returns wherever possible.
By law, the IRS cannot issue a refund involving the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February, though eligible people may file their returns beginning on January 24. The law provides this additional time to help the IRS stop fraudulent refunds from being issued.
Some returns, filed electronically or on paper, may need manual review, which delays the processing, if our systems detect a possible error or missing information, or there is suspected identity theft or fraud. Some of these situations require us to correspond with taxpayers, but some do not. This work does require special handling by an IRS employee so, in these instances, it may take the IRS more than the normal 21 days to issue any related refund. In those cases where IRS is able to correct the return without corresponding, the IRS will send an explanation to the taxpayer.
File electronically and choose direct deposit
To speed refunds, the IRS urges taxpayers to file electronically with direct deposit information as soon as they have everything they need to file an accurate return. If the return includes errors or is incomplete, it may require further review that may slow the tax refund. Having all information available when preparing the 2021 tax return can reduce errors and avoid delays in processing.
Most individual taxpayers file IRS Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR once they receive Forms W-2 and other earnings information from their employers, issuers like state agencies 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. For the latest IRS forms and instructions, visit the IRS website at IRS.gov/forms.
Free File available January 14
IRS Free File will open January 14 when 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 strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds – as well having all the information they need to file an accurate return to avoid delays. 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. More information will be available on Free File later this week.
In addition to IRS Free File, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals.
Watch for IRS letters about advance Child Tax Credit payments and third Economic Impact Payments
The IRS started sending Letter 6419, 2021 advance Child Tax Credit, in late December 2021 and continues to do so into January. The letter contains important information that can help ensure the return is accurate. People who received the advance CTC payments can also check the amount of the payments they received by using the CTC Update Portal available on IRS.gov.
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 individuals who received a third payment in 2021 in late January. While most eligible people 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.
Tips to make filing easier
To avoid processing delays and speed refunds, the IRS urges people to follow these steps:
Organize and gather 2021 tax records including Social Security numbers, Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, Adoption Taxpayer Identification Numbers, and this year’s Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers valid for calendar year 2022.
Check IRS.gov for the latest tax information, including the latest on reconciling advance payments of the Child Tax Credit or claiming a Recovery Rebate Credit for missing stimulus payments. There is no need to call.
Set up or log in securely at IRS.gov/account to access personal tax account information including balance, payments, and tax records including adjusted gross income.
Make final estimated tax payments for 2021 by Tuesday, January 18, 2022, to help avoid a tax-time bill and possible penalties.
Individuals can use a bank account, prepaid debit card or mobile app to use direct deposit and will need to provide routing and account numbers. Learn how to open an account at an FDIC-Insured bank or through the National Credit Union Locator Tool.
File a complete and accurate return electronically when ready and choose direct deposit for the quickest refund.
Key filing season dates
There 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
IRS issues information letters to Advance Child Tax Credit recipients and recipients of the third round of Economic Impact Payments; taxpayers should hold onto letters to help the 2022 Filing Season experience
IR-2021-255, December 22, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it will issue information letters to Advance Child Tax Credit recipients starting in December and to recipients of the third round of the Economic Impact Payments at the end of January. Using this information when preparing a tax return can reduce errors and delays in processing.
The IRS urged people receiving these letters to make sure they hold onto them to assist them in preparing their 2021 federal tax returns in 2022.
Watch for advance Child Tax Credit letter
To help taxpayers reconcile and receive all of the Child Tax Credits to which they are entitled, the IRS will send Letter 6419, 2021 advance CTC, starting late December 2021 and continuing into January. The letter will include the total amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments taxpayers received in 2021 and the number of qualifying children used to calculate the advance payments. People should keep this and any other IRS letters about advance Child Tax Credit payments with their tax records.
Families who received advance payments will need to file a 2021 tax return and compare the advance Child Tax Credit payments they received in 2021 with the amount of the Child Tax Credit they can properly claim on their 2021 tax return.
The letter contains important information that can make preparing their tax returns easier. People who received the advance CTC payments can also check the amount of their payments by using the CTC Update Portal available on IRS.gov.
Eligible families who did not receive any advance Child Tax Credit payments can claim the full amount of the Child Tax Credit on their 2021 federal tax return, filed in 2022. This includes families who don’t normally need to file a tax return.
Economic Impact Payment letter can help with the Recovery Rebate Credit
The IRS will begin issuing Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment, to EIP recipients in late January. This letter will help Economic Impact Payment recipients determine if they are entitled to and should claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax year 2021 tax returns that they file in 2022.
Letter 6475 only applies to the third round of Economic Impact Payments that was issued starting in March 2021 and continued through December 2021. The third round of Economic Impact Payments, including the “plus-up” payments, were advance payments of the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit that would be claimed on a 2021 tax return. Plus-up payments were additional payments the IRS sent to people who received a third Economic Impact Payment based on a 2019 tax return or information received from SSA, RRB or VA; or to people who may be eligible for a larger amount based on their 2020 tax return.
Most eligible people already received the payments. However, people who are missing stimulus payments should review the information to determine their eligibility and whether they need to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit for tax year 2020 or 2021.
Like the advance CTC letter, the Economic Impact Payment letters include important information that can help people quickly and accurately file their tax return.
As the 2022 tax filing season approaches, the IRS urges people to make sure to file an accurate tax return and use electronic filing with direct deposit to avoid delays.
IR-2021-251, December 17, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2022 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on January 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 58.5 cents per mile driven for business use, up 2.5 cents from the rate for 2021,
- 18 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, up 2 cents from the rate for 2021 and
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations; the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2021.
The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, unless they are members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details see Moving Expenses for Members of the Armed Forces.
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.
Taxpayers can use the standard mileage rate but must opt to use it in the first year the car is available for business use. Then, in later years, they can choose either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. Leased vehicles must use the standard mileage rate method for the entire lease period (including renewals) if the standard mileage rate is chosen.
Notice 22-03 PDF, contains the optional 2022 standard mileage rates, as well as the maximum automobile cost used to calculate the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan. In addition, the notice provides the maximum fair market value of employer-provided automobiles first made available to employees for personal use in calendar year 2022 for which employers may use the fleet-average valuation rule in or the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule.
IR-2021-153, July 15, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department announced today that millions of American families have started receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments as direct deposits begin posting in bank accounts and checks arrive in mailboxes.
This first batch of advance monthly payments worth roughly $15 billion reached about 35 million families today across the country. About 86% were sent by direct deposit.
The payments will continue each month. The IRS urged people who normally aren’t required to file a tax return to explore the tools available on IRS.gov. These tools can help determine eligibility for the advance Child Tax Credit or help people file a simplified tax return to sign up for these payments as well as Economic Impact Payments, and other credits you may be eligible to receive.
Under the American Rescue Plan, each payment is up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17. Normally, anyone who receives a payment this month will also receive a payment each month for the rest of 2021 unless they unenroll. Besides the July 15 payment, payment dates are: Aug. 13, Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.
Here are further details on these payments:
- Families will see the direct deposit payments in their accounts starting today, July 15. For those receiving payment by paper check, they should remember to take into consideration the time it takes to receive it by mail.
- Payments went to eligible families who filed 2019 or 2020 income tax returns.
- Tax returns processed by June 28 are reflected in these payments. This includes people who don’t typically file a return, but during 2020 successfully registered for Economic Impact Payments using the IRS Non-Filers tool or in 2021 successfully used the Non-filer Sign-up Tool for Advance CTC, also on IRS.gov.
- Payments are automatic. Aside from filing a tax return, including a simplified return from the Non-Filer Sign-Up tool, families don’t have to do anything if they are eligible to receive monthly payments.
Additional information is available on a special Advance Child Tax Credit 2021 page, designed to provide the most up-to-date information about the credit and the advance payments.