IRS Delays Start of Tax Filing Season to Feb. 12

(UNDATED) – The Internal Revenue Service announced on Friday it will start accepting returns on Feb. 12, about two weeks later than usual. However, you still must file by the standard April 15 deadline.

The government says it expects to pay most refunds reasonably quickly.

The shift was needed, the IRS said, to allow the agency to update and test its systems to reflect late-year tax changes approved by Congress, including the second round of economic stimulus payments.

“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,” the IRS commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, said in a news release.

Even as it prepares to accept 2020 tax returns, the agency is still wading through a backlog of 2019 tax returns.

According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the arm of the IRS that speaks for filers, IRS was delayed in processing some returns, particularly those filed on paper. Though most people file returns electronically, about 16 million paper returns were filed last year. As of Dec. 25, there were still nearly seven million unprocessed individual returns from tax year 2019, according to the IRS website.