Some taxpayers can start filling out their returns today with IRS Free File and claim credits like the Recovery Rebate Credit and other deductions. Tax preparers will accept completed forms and then submit them when the IRS begins processing returns on Feb. 12.
The IRS said Free File tax preparation products are now available online in English and Spanish for any taxpayer or family who earned $72,000 or less in 2020. MilTax, free tax services for the military offered through the Department of Defense, will be available starting on Monday.
Eligible individuals who did not receive their full stimulus payments in 2020 can claim the balance as a Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 returns. Two rounds of stimulus checks went out last year: $1,200 approved by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the spring, and $600 approved in December. Both sets of payments contained additional amounts for taxpayers with qualifying children.
Taxpayers who weren’t eligible for the stimulus based on their 2019 income, but would be based on their 2020 income, should apply for the credit.
"Given the pandemic, this is one of the nation's most important filing seasons ever,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement, referring to the economic hardship people have faced and the relief a tax refund could bring.
The IRS expects 90% of taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically and opt for direct deposit payment, if there are no issues with their tax return.
Last year's average tax refund was over $2,500.
IRS Free File providers include 1040Now, ezTaxReturn.com, FreeTaxReturn.com, FileYourTaxes.com, TurboTax, On-Line Taxes, TaxAct, FreeTaxUSA, and TaxSlayer. TaxSlayer and ezTaxReturn.com offer services in Spanish. The deadline for all filings, without an extension, is April 15.