The Internal Revenue Service began accepting and processing tax year 2020 federal returns on Feb. 12, 2021.
Tips for Taxpayers to Make Filing Easier:
The IRS urges filers to follow these steps to avoid unnecessary delays in processing and issuance of refunds:
- File electronically and use direct deposit for the quickest refunds.
- Check IRS.gov for the latest tax information, including the latest on Economic Impact Payments. There is no need to call.
- For those who already received or may be eligible for stimulus payments, carefully review the guidelines for the Recovery Rebate Credit.
- Filers who automatically received the maximum refund amount do not need to include any information about their payments in their tax return.
- Filers who did not receive a payment or only received a partial payment may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax return. Tax preparation software, including IRS Free File, will help taxpayers figure the amount.
- Advance stimulus payments already received are not taxable, and
they do not reduce the taxpayer’s refund when they file their tax year 2020 federal return.
Key Filing Season Dates:
There are several important dates taxpayers should keep in mind for this year’s filing season:
- Jan. 15: IRS Free File opened and taxpayers could prepare their returns but actual transmission to the IRS was delayed until Feb. 12.
- Jan. 29: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day took place.
- Feb. 12: Tax year 2020 filing season opens. The IRS began accepting completed returns for processing.
- Feb. 22: IRS.gov made available the Where’s My Refund tool for those claiming EITC and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), also known as PATH Act returns.
- Mar. 1-7: Tax refunds began arriving for those claiming EITC and ACTC for electronic filers with direct deposit whose tax returns have been approved.
- April 15: Deadline for filing 2020 tax returns without an extension request.
- Oct. 15: Deadline to file 2020 tax returns for those who requested an extension.
Tax Resources for Military Members, Veterans, and their Family Members:
The IRS has a variety of resources to help members of the military, veterans and their families navigate filing taxes while in the military.
- Military Tax Benefits: Military status can affect a taxpayer’s eligibility for certain military tax benefits. Taxpayers can check their eligibility for military tax benefits here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/military/eligibility-for-military-taxbenefits
- Combat Zone Tax Benefits: There are rules specific to those who serve in combat zones. These taxpayers and their families can find out more here: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/military/tax-exclusion-for-combatservice
- EITC: Military members should also review special EITC rules. If these apply to their tax situation, it could lead to a larger refund. Find more information here: https://www.irs.gov/creditsdeductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit/military-and-clergyrules-for-the-earned-income-tax-credit
- The Armed Forces’ Tax Guide: IRS Publication 3 is a comprehensive publication with info for military members including information on: special rules for military personnel serving abroad including deadline extensions, unreimbursed moving expenses, and reserve component travel expenses. The Armed Forces’ Tax Guide can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-3
- MilTax: Members of the military and qualifying veterans can prepare and e-file their taxes for free through MilTax. The MilTax website can be found here: https://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-legal/taxresource-center/miltax-military-tax-services
- IRS Free File: Taxpayers who do not qualify for MilTax have other options to prepare and e-file their federal taxes for free. Those who earned less than $72,000 in 2020 can use IRS Free File software. Any taxpayer, regardless of income, who is comfortable completing their tax forms digitally can use Free File Fillable Forms. The IRS Free File software can be found here: https://www.irs.gov/freefile
Navy Volunteer Income Tax Assistance:
The Navy VITA program is operating one Tax Assistance Center (TAC) only at Recruit Training Center (RTC), Great Lakes, Ill. Veterans may qualify for free tax help at locations nationwide. Some community based organizations have income or age requirements. All service members, their dependents, and retirees are able to find a VITA location using: https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/
The RTC self-service TAC will allow customers to prepare and file their own taxes using software from Military OneSource (MoS) or IRS Free File Alliance, with IRS-certified volunteers.
For individuals unable to make it to the self-service TAC or who prefer filing their taxes from home, there is free access to the MoS software utilizing a personal computer or tablet. The software became available Jan. 19, 2021.
Customers will need the following items on-hand when preparing their taxes:
- Valid identification for taxpayer/s
- Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
- Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number and address
- Adjusted gross income from last year’s tax return (if you have a copy, VITA volunteers can show you where this amount is)
- IRS E-filing PIN (you can get one at irs.gov or call IRS at 866-704-7388)
- Income data (W-2s)
- All end-year tax documents (1099s)
- Student loan payment information
- Receipts for child care payment
- Receipts for educational expenses