Keep an eye out for IRS letters on COVID relief money, advance Child Tax Credit payments
Some state tax laws changed on Jan. 1, 2022

IRS starts accepting e-filed business tax returns on Jan. 7

Runners at starting line_pexels-snapwire-618612-1
It's ready, set, go for tax season 2022, at least for business taxpayers. The IRS has announced a start date for these filings. (Photo by Snapwire via Pexels)

We have a start date for the Internal Revenue Service's 2022 tax filing season!

Unfortunately for individual taxpayers, it's not for you. (Update, Jan. 10: The IRS has set Monday, Jan. 24, as the start of the individual tax filing season.)

The IRS announced on its Modernized e-File (MeF) Status web page that it will begin accepting electronically filed business tax returns at 9 a.m. Eastern time on Jan. 7, 2022.

IRS MeF 2022 filing season biz start date 7Jan2022

Yes, you are looking at your calendar correctly. That's this Friday!

Individual returns, when? The IRS also notes on the MeF page that the start of the filling season for around 160 million individual taxpayers will "be announced later." (As noted in the update at the top of the post, that's now set for Monday, Jan. 24.)

This week, per a report from Thomson Reuters Checkpoint, an IRS representative offered another, albeit still vague, take on the coming season for individuals. He told the tax and accounting service that the IRS will make a formal tax season start announcement "in the near future."

But since we know that Tax Day 2022 is in April (so far…) this year — April 18 to be exact, thanks to a couple of days delay because of the Washington, D.C., official Emancipation Day holiday — the expectation (or hope or dread, depending on your personal situation) is that filings will start being processed at the end of this month.

IRS prep required: The reason for the lag in the start of filing season is the same every year. The IRS has to reconfigure its systems to accommodate the prior year's returns. This typically begins in November.

However, the agency also faced a lot of extra tasks in 2021.

There was the issuance of economic impact payments and, from July through December, Advance Child Tax Credit amounts to millions of eligible taxpayers.

Plus, it was struggling to catch up with the backlog of 2020 returns that stacked up with the agency closed most of its campuses as a COVID-19 precaution. And the filing dates for 2020 and 2021 also were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting the IRS processing further behind.

No big late law changes: At least, from the tax community's perspective, there weren't any end-of-year tax law changes in 2021. That should make the IRS' task of getting ready for tax season 2022 a bit easier.

I know. The IRS problems created problems for taxpayers and tax professionals, too. It's been an awful couple of tax years for everyone. So I can understand the agencies desire to finally at least try to get back on what is a more normal schedule.

I also understand tax pros who still are digging out of the crunch, and trying to calm frantic and frustrated (and frustrating) clients, desire for more time. But alas, for now, it looks like we are aiming for April 18.

And, for business taxpayers, Jan. 7 — again, that's this Friday — to start electronically submitting those tax returns.

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