An overview of the tax filing timeline

Updated: Feb 25

This year the IRS opened the tax filing season on the 24th of January. The last day most people can submit their tax returns is April 18th. (Remember though that if the IRS owes you a tax refund, you have up to 3 years to claim it!)


The timeframe for receiving your tax refund is usually less than 3 weeks after the IRS accepts your return, IF you filed electronically, and have direct deposit set up to receive your refund.


The timeframe can increase depending on your situation. For example, if you are claiming Earned Income Tax Credits, the IRS won’t even begin reviewing your return until February 15th. Often we see that first-time parents can expect delays as well because it’s the first time the IRS is seeing the baby’s info, so it takes a little extra time to verify.


If you opt to receive your refund via check instead of by direct deposit, your return will be delayed on average 3-4 weeks beyond the typical timeline.


A general timeline:

  • Jan 11 - Feb 7: Most people receive their W-2(s) and/or 1099(s)

  • Jan. 14: IRS Free File service opens to prepare tax year 2021 returns

  • Jan. 24: IRS begins processing 2021 tax returns

  • Jan 31: deadline for most companies/employers to send out employment tax forms (like W-2, 1099, etc.)

  • Feb 15: IRS begins to process tax returns for those claiming EITC

  • Feb 15: Deadline for brokers to send out investment tax forms (like 1099-B, 1099-INT, etc.)

  • April 18: Filing deadline for tax year 2021