IRS Sets Date For Tax Season

( Tax season for 2022 will officially begin on January 23, the Internal Revenue Service announced recently.

The tax agency said that it’s hoping that it now has enough staff members in place to be able to assist all taxpayers who need the help. That’s not been the case in recent years, when it’s been very hard for American taxpayers to reach anyone at the IRS to have their questions answered because of major staffing shortages at the agency.

The IRS recently said that it hired about 5,000 new staff members who will be dedicated to answering taxpayers’ questions in person and over the phone.

The last two tax seasons were particularly tough due to the pandemic. In addition to the IRS having staffing shortages then, many Americans had additional tax questions related to pandemic-era tax breaks and funding. This included programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program, the boost from the federal government for unemployment benefits and the multiple stimulus checks that were sent out.

This all made it very difficult for the IRS to handle the huge influx of calls that it received during the 2020 and 2021 tax seasons.

But, now, the agency believes that it has sufficient staff to be able to not only answer any and all questions, but to process taxpayers’ returns in a timely manner as well.

Doug O’Donnell, the IRS’ acting commissioner, commented:

“This filing season is the first to benefit the IRS and our nation’s tax system from multi-year funding in the Inflation Reduction Act. With these new additional resources, taxpayers and tax professionals will see improvements in many areas of the agency this year.

“We’ve trained thousands of new employees to answer phones and help people. While much work remains after several difficult years, we expect people to experience improvements this tax season. That’s just the start as we work to add new long-term transformation efforts that will make things even smoother in future years.”

Despite the official start to the season being January 23, taxpayers are already able to use e-file systems. Any taxpayer who submits an e-file now will just see their return held until January 23. At that time, the IRS will begin to process returns.

The e-file system that the IRS makes available is free for any taxpayer who makes less than $73,000 per year.

While most people would love to file their tax returns early so they could receive their refunds quickly, the IRS said it’s best for people to ensure that they have all their documents in order and complete before they do so. If taxpayers have to file amendments to their returns because they get more documents — ore revised documents — at a later date, that would slow down the refund process considerably.

Another recommendation the IRS gave in its recent announcement is for taxpayers to use the direct deposit feature to get their refunds. This would ensure the quickest delivery of funds for a refund, which the agency said would be issued within 21 days after the filing was made if using direct deposit.