Opening of tax season pushed back until mid-February

Consumer Report

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you planned on filing your tax return in hope of a refund check sometime soon, you will have to wait. The Internal Revenue Service says tax season won’t start in January as it normally does.

The agency is waiting until Feb. 12 to begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns.

“The reason the IRS is delaying is because they’re preparing their system to be able to calculate any stimulus money that people are due,” said CPA Lydia Desnoyers who offered News 3 some expert advice on the date change.

Millions of Americans received electronic stimulus payments and or checks last year. However, if you did not receive the stimulus (and you believe you should have) or if you did receive not the amount you think you should have, the filing process in 2021 is actually a chance to correct that.

“When you file your tax return that’s when you know based on your income, how much you were due for the stimulus amount,” said Desnoyers. “So, if you were underpaid and didn’t get the full amount, this is going to be your opportunity to claim the additional amount due to you along with your tax refund if you get a refund.”

She says use the few extra weeks before Feb. 12 to get your information and numbers in order.

“If you have all your documents ready and your return is pretty simple, you can go ahead and at least start the process so you know how much you’re getting back as a refund or how much you’re going to owe so when you file you’ll be prepared,” said Desnoyers.

She also told us that since the new tax law went into effect for returns filed as of January of 2018, that many filers are now taking advantage of the increase in the standard deductions and not itemizing. If you do still plan to itemize and are doing your own return or going to a tax preparer, again, Desnoyers says just make sure you have secured all the documentation you need to make itemizing worth the time.

“Once the IRS processing system and running, the advice is to e-file and use direct deposit,” she told News 3. “If you get a refund that’s the best way to expedite the process and get your refund sooner rather than later. The IRS estimates that most people will start getting their refunds within 21 days of filing.”

You’re reminded that while the acceptance and processing date for returns does not begin until Feb. 12, that the filing deadline this year will remain the same, i.e. April 15.

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