IRS Pushes Back Start of Tax Filing Season – Will It Delay Your Refund?

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The IRS announced Friday that tax filing season won’t start until February 12 this year. However, the tax deadline, for now, remains the usual April 15 in 2021

Filing season typically starts in the latter half of January, but the delay to mid-February allows the IRS more time for “additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits,” the agency reported. 

See: You Can Pay Your Taxes With a Credit Card — Here’s Why You Shouldn’t
Find: 10 Tax Loopholes That Could Save You Thousands

Additionally, the deadline for employers to file 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC forms for independent contractors has been changed to February 28, 2021. The deadline for employers to file W-2 forms is February 1, 2021. This change means many independent contractors can’t even start their tax prep until March. 

Americans who file early typically do so to receive their refunds faster, so the delayed start of the season could mean a few more weeks before you get your money. 

The IRS noted that nine out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days of filing, as long as they take a few steps to streamline the process: 

  • File electronically
  • Set up direct deposit for your refund from the IRS
  • Make sure there are no issues or mistakes on your returns
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See: H&R Block vs. TurboTax: Which Is Best for Your 2020 Tax Return?
Find: 8 New or Improved Tax Credits and Breaks for Your 2020 Return

If you’re anxious to get a jumpstart on tax season now, you can have your tax returns prepared now by a tax accountant or through a tax prep software company and wait until February 12 to transmit the forms to the IRS.  

With many Americans counting on tax return money in late winter or early spring, they will be even more eager for Congress to pass Biden’s proposed stimulus plan, which includes $1,400 in stimulus payments for individuals making less than $75,000 and couples filing jointly who gross less than $150,000, plus $1,400 for each child living in the household.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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