The nation’s tax season will start Feb. 12, 2021, the day the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2020 tax year returns.

That’s about two weeks after the usual start date in late January.

The IRS said the additional time for individual filers lets the agency do more programming and testing of its system to adjust to tax law changes associated with the second round of federal coronavirus relief funds.

Failure to do the programming could result in delayed income tax refunds, the agency said.

“These changes ensure that eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return,” the IRS said.

Tax Returns

Taxpayers can speed up the refund process during the pandemic by filing electronically, the agency said.

“People can begin filing their tax returns immediately with tax software companies, including IRS Free File partners” it noted.

“These groups are starting to accept tax returns now, and the returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting Feb. 12.”

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said this promises to be “one of the nation’s most important filing seasons ever.”

“This start date will ensure that people get their needed tax refunds quickly while also making sure they receive any remaining stimulus payments they are eligible for as quickly as possible,” Rettig said.

The IRS said more than 150 million tax returns are expected to be filed this year, most before the April 15 deadline.

Key Filing Dates

Here are some key filing dates:

  • Jan. 15. Taxpayers can begin filing returns through Free File partners; tax returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting Feb. 12. Tax software companies are also accepting tax filings in advance.
  • Feb. 12. IRS begins the 2021 tax season. Individual tax returns begin being accepted and processing starts.
  • First week of March. Tax refunds begin reaching those claiming EITC and ACTC (PATH Act returns) for those who file electronically with direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax returns.
  • April 15. Deadline for filing 2020 tax returns.
  • Oct. 15. Deadline to file for an extension on 2020 tax returns