The 2022 tax season officially began on January 24 when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began to process and issue refunds. However, the tax agency has urged American tax filers to take extra time this year.
There have been numerous changes to the tax code which need to be addressed carefully. Additionally, the IRS has encouraged taxpayers to file electronically to help speed returns.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said that Americans need to take special care this year due to several critical tax law changes enacted in 2021 and ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"IRS employees are working hard to deliver a successful 2022 tax season while facing enormous challenges related to the pandemic," Rettig said. "There are important steps people can take to ensure they avoid processing delays and get their tax refund as quickly as possible. We urge people to carefully review their taxes for accuracy before filing. And they should file electronically with direct deposit if at all possible; filing a paper tax return this year means an extended refund delay."
Among the notable changes for many tax filers will be the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which increased last year. Parents with children under the age of 18 will receive up to $3,000, and parents with children under the age of 6 will receive up to $3,600. However, the amount may change depending on your income and your marital status.
In addition, filers who received more than the total amount given will be required to make repayment.
Those who qualified for a third stimulus payment of $1,400 in 2021 but did not receive it will need to file their 2021 tax returns to receive that payment. Likewise, those who not receive a stimulus check and had lower income in 2021 may be able to claim the recovery rebate credit on this year's tax return.
Still Business As Usual
However, tax season shouldn't be any more stressful than normal, and for most taxpayers who file a tax return with no issues, the IRS anticipates that they should receive their refund within three weeks of when they file electronically if they choose direct deposit. That’s a similar timeframe to previous years. Last year's average tax refund was more than $2,800.
"There are simple steps that people can take that will help them navigate this challenging tax season," Rettig said. "Filing electronically and using online resources instead of calling are just some of the steps that can help people avoid delays."
The IRS is also there to help, said Rettig. "IRS employees will do everything possible with the available resources to serve taxpayers this year."
However, don't call the IRS if you can avoid it. The agency warned that phone lines continue to receive record numbers of calls. Instead, IRS.gov remains the quickest and easiest option for help.
Longer Tax Season
The agency kicked off the tax season earlier than last year, when it began on February 12. More than 160 million individual tax returns for the 2021 tax year are now expected to be filed, with most before the April 18 tax deadline.
Most taxpayers will still face an April 18 deadline this year due to the Emancipation Day holiday in Washington, D.C. falling on April 15. Additionally, taxpayers in Massachusetts and Maine will have an April 19 deadline due to Patriots Day. Some disaster victims may have an even later filing deadline in some locations.
"We will work hard to deliver refunds quickly, serve as many people as possible and work to catch up on past tax returns affected by the pandemic," added Rettig. "The IRS thanks you for filing your taxes, a critical part of helping our great nation."
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.