The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the nation’s tax season has been delayed until 12 February 2021.
The tax agency will not begin accepting and processing 2020 tax returns until the later date so as to provide it with time to carry out additional programming and testing of its systems.
The changes being put in place are reportedly designed to ensure that all eligible people will receive any remaining stimulus payments when they file their tax returns, despite previous warnings that the IRS may not be able to process all of those who have been waiting for the money since March.
Chuck Rettig, commissioner at the IRS, said: “Planning for the nation’s filing season process is a massive undertaking, and IRS teams have been working non-stop to prepare for this as well as delivering economic impact payments in record time.
“Given the pandemic, this is 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.”
Over 150 million tax returns are expected to be filed by the cut off date, with last year’s average tax refund at $2,500.
Despite the vast numbers, the IRS expects 90% of refunds to be received within three weeks of electronic submission.
Given the difficulties it continues to face from last year, the tax agency has urged taxpayers and tax professionals alike to avoid paper returns wherever possible.