’Tis the season! Of April showers, of chirping birds and daffodils, of spring break and…taxes? Hmm. That one doesn’t sound like as much fun, does it? Alas, the time has come yet again for the exchange of cash with Uncle Sam care of the Internal Revenue Service, but there’s no need to worry: we’ve got the basics of what you need to know about tax day 2021 to get you feeling prepared to file and either pay your taxes or receive your refunds.
When is Tax Day?
Tax season 2021 officially started on February 12th – this means that’s the day the IRS started processing tax returns. Employers should have begun sending out tax documents like W-2s in January, and other documents like 1099’s from your banks and additional income sources, or 1095s from your health insurance providers, should have begun to fall into your mailboxes and inboxes not long after, but sometimes it takes organizations a while to get those documents out to you. Generally, Tax Day (or, the last possible day to file and pay your taxes without incurring penalties and fees) is April 15th. However, due to complications from the Covid-19 pandemic like continued financial constraints on the American public, and the extra work of processing last year’s delayed taxes (taxpayers were allowed to file until July 15th 2020) and additional stimulus checks, tax day 2021 has been pushed back to May 17th, 2021.
When will I receive my refund?
While you certainly could delay the trouble of gathering your documents and filing later, it’s still a good idea to file earlier because that means you’ll get your refund earlier, if you’re expecting one. The IRS typically takes 21 days to issue refunds to taxpayers, though it’s possible that delays will occur because of the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig also noted in an official IRS statement that, “Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.” In other words, file soon, file electronically, and you’ll get your refund hopefully within the estimated 21-day window (fun fact – that’s also the suggested amount of time to wait between the first and second doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine!).
How do I file?
Some people have fairly simple tax situations – one job, no kids, filing single, no assets or other income to report or credits to claim. For the rest of us, knowing exactly how to track down all those documents and add up all those numbers correctly can be a real pain, and potentially cost you big bucks in penalties for incorrect filing. If you’re concerned about your tax situation, it’s best to leave it to the professionals, and luckily, you have plenty of options. Tax preparers like the professionals at H&R Block can help you in person and online, and if you know you’d like to go the digital route, services like TurboTax and eSmart can help you enter your information privately and accurately to make sure you get your biggest refund even without the help of an in-person tax preparer.