Tax documents you need to file your 2022 return
Free File 2023 is open, with 7 companies offering 9 no-cost tax prep/e-file options

Tax season 2023 officially starts Monday, Jan. 23;
Free File opens earlier, on Friday, Jan. 13

Tax-Season-forms-2023-start-date

It's official. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that it will begin accepting and processing 2022 tax year individual returns on Monday, Jan. 23.

The IRS also has a date for taxpayers eligible to use its Free File service. It opens for no-cost business tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 13. Seven companies are participating this year.

With the announcement of these tax season 2023 dates, the official filing kickoff calendar is complete. Today, Jan. 12, is the start of the agency's business e-filing season.

On hold for just a little longer: Word on the official processing date also is good news for those eager taxpayers who've already e-filed their personal Form 1040s, either by mailing paper forms or, more likely, using commercial tax software.

Those returns have been in a holding queue. Now they will get IRS attention in just more than a week.

That same process applies to folks who head to Free File on its opening day tomorrow. The participating tax software providers there will accept completed returns and, yes, hold them until they can be filed electronically with the IRS on Jan. 23.

Computer, taxpayer assistance systems will be ready: IRS officials say they will have completed their systems' annual programming updates and testing by Jan. 23, the last full week of the month. January.

The agency also notes that this is the first tax season in three years in which the IRS is not under added COVID-19 pandemic burdens. Yes, some backlog still remains, but added IRS duties due to new coronavirus relief laws are over.

And another new law, the Inflation Reduction Act, is helping improve the 2023 filing season via its added IRS funding. The IRS says it has used that money to hire more than 5,000 new staff to provide telephone assistance, as well as add more in-person staff to help support taxpayers.

"While much work remains after several difficult years, we expect people to experience improvements this tax season," said Acting IRS Commissioner Doug O'Donnell in announcing the 2023 filing season start date. "This filing season is the first to benefit the IRS and our nation's tax system from multi-year funding in the Inflation Reduction Act."

I know, I know. I can read the tax room. And it's a tax weary and skeptical audience. But I'm opting for optimism, keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for O'Donnell's promised improvements, not miracles.

I'm also keeping my sunglasses nearby in case there's a need for some shade as the filing season progresses.

Usual filing season tips reiterated: Recent filing seasons have been far from usual, but the IRS is turning to traditional tax season tips as the 2023 one gets underway.

First, don't file before you have all your necessary return information. That includes the official tax forms and statements noted in my post Tax documents you need to file your 2022 return. Having this material on hand means you'll be able to file a complete and accurate return, thereby avoiding follow-up inquiries from the IRS, refund delays, or potentially having to file an amended return.

Second, submit your return electronically. That's probably going to happen if you hire a tax preparer. The IRS urges you to follow that lead if you do your own taxes, either using online or purchased package software or by using those programs still participating in Free File. (Ol' blog preview: I'll have more on Free File 2023 in tomorrow's post.)

Third, if you're expecting a tax refund, provide financial institution information with your return so the money can be directly deposited to your chosen account. If you don't have a bank account, look into establishing one before filing.

Fourth, don't be in such a hurry that you overlook some potentially tax-saving tax breaks. I'll have on these missed benefits in a coming post, but one that folks regularly forget to claim is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

State taxes, too: Finally, here's a fifth fling season tip from the ol' blog. Don't forget about your state taxes.

I live in a no-income-tax state, so I just have to worry about my federal filing.

Most taxpayers, however, live in states that do have some sort of income taxes, and require their residents to file annual returns detailing that money.

Most of those state tax departments also tend to follow the IRS lead when it comes to dates, both the start of filing and the forms' ultimate deadlines. If you live in a state that requires tax return filing, check with your tax officials to make sure you know, and meet, those relevant dates.

Tax Day(s) 2023: Although we now have the official start of the 2023 filing season, lots of filers will take care of their annual tax task a bit later. And once again, these not-so-hurried filers get a little more time.

Tax Day 2023 is April 18. Part of the reason is that April 15 this year falls on Saturday. But Monday, April 17, isn't the next business day in the tax world. That's Emancipation Day, an official holiday in Washington, D.C.

Federal law requires the IRS to follow the national capital's holiday schedule, so that gives tax procrastinators this year an extra-long weekend by pushing Tax Day 2023 to Tuesday, April 18.

If you're an uber tax procrastinator and get an extension by April 18 to file your return, that extended deadline is a bit later this year, too. It's Monday, Oct. 17, because Oct. 16 is on Sunday.

A quick extension reminder: a filing extension is what its name says, more time to file your forms. You must pay any tax you expect to owe when you request the extension.

And one more ol' blog preview. I'll have more on these and more tax deadlines in an upcoming post.

For now, though, if you're ready to file your tax year 2022 Form 1040, mark your calendars. Tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 13 is the date if you plan to use Free File. Monday, Jan. 23 is when the IRS will begin moving your and millions of other annual tax returns through the system.

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