Ready to do your 2019 taxes? The Internal Revenue Service says it will be on Jan. 7.
Yep, that's tomorrow. But whoa up there, cowpokes.
This starting date is just for IRS acceptance of business returns.
On the Modernized e-File (MeF) Operational Status page noting the Jan. 7 starting date for business returns, the IRS also says, "Individual tax returns will begin at a date to be determined in early 2020."
Still, it's a good sign that Uncle Sam's tax collector is looking at any return processing date in early January.
Business returns only: All y'all expecting refunds — yes, lots of folks still like the forced savings of overwithholding — will have to wait, probably at least a couple more weeks.
UPDATE, Jan. 6, 2020: The IRS is making me work today! The tax agency just made it official that 2020's filing season for individual taxpayers will start on Jan. 27. That's the day the IRS will start accepting and processing 2019 tax returns. More in my subsequent post, Tax filing season 2020 starts Monday, Jan. 27.
Filing season for individual taxpayers for the last few years has started the last week of January. That's been because the IRS has had to make sure its system is set up for last-minute tax law changes.
That's the case again this year. Congress and the White House didn't sign off on some tax matters, notably renewing expired extenders, until Dec. 22, 2019.
That means that the IRS and the tax software industry, which makes the tax preparation programs that most of us now use, have to update all their systems.
Tax pros' prep necessary, too: Also, judging from the admittedly non-scientific (but fun and informative) Tax Twitterverse, most tax pros are just now getting back into the tax swing after the holidays.
In most business tax cases, it's tax professionals who'll be filling out and filing those company returns, as well as 1040s for millions of individual filers.
These tax pros need to get their systems up and running for the 2020 tax filing season.
They also need to make sure that the professional tax software that they use also is ready for 2020 filing season action.
And, of course, they need to get the necessary data and documentation from their clients.
So while the IRS says it's ready tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 7, to start accepting some tax returns, don't expect a rush of filings in the next 24 hours.
Lingering tax reform matters: Another reason, aside from those just listed, that there's not likely to be a rush this week to file business returns is that even though we are entering the second filing season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), some areas of tax reform still are confusing.
Taxpayers, business and individual alike, as well as tax pros, the tax software industry and, in a couple of cases, the IRS itself, are still sorting all the tax law changes.
Still, I'll say it again. It's a good sign that the IRS, or at least a part of it, is ready for the annual filing task this early in the year.
Let's hope the tax agency — and all us taxpayers — will be as prepared when the full filing season opens, borrowing the IRS' words, "at a date to be determined."
You also might find these items of interest:
- 5 tax tips for Free File users
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