IRS Refund Schedule 2024, Tax Return Calendar, E-File & On-Paper Date

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2024 filing season opens on the 1st of January, and the Internal Revenue Service will begin processing electronic and paper returns shortly thereafter.

Taxpayers who e-file can expect their refunds more promptly than those who choose to send their returns via postal mail. According to the latest updates, e-filing with direct deposit remains the fastest way to get your refund.

According to IRS projections, new returns will be accepted and processed starting on January 29, 2024.

Key 2024 filing season dates

  • January 12: IRS Free File opens.
  • January 16: Due date for 2023 fourth quarter estimated tax payments.
  • January 26: Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day.
  • January 29: Filing season start date for individual tax returns.
  • April 15: Due date of filing a tax return or to request an extension for most of the nation.
  • April 17: Due date for Maine and Massachusetts.
  • October 15: Due date for extension filers.

If you’re wondering how long it will take to get your refund, the IRS typically issues 9 out of 10 refunds within 21 days of e-filing, assuming there are no errors or issues with your tax return. Paper filers should anticipate a longer waiting period, typically 6 to 8 weeks from the date of mailing their tax returns. It's important to ensure that all information is accurate to avoid delays.

In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the 2024 IRS Refund Schedule, the key dates you need to be aware of during the tax season, the differences between e-filing and paper filing, and important tips to help you receive your tax return without delays.

Additionally, we will delve into what actions you can take if your refund is taking longer than expected and how to track the status of your return.

Estimated 2024 IRS Income Tax Return Chart

Individuals eager to plan their finances around their tax return dates should take note of the following estimated refund chart. Keep in mind these dates are tentative and can be influenced by multiple factors, including holidays and system maintenance periods:

  • January 31: Final day to receive W-2 forms and most 1099s from your employer February 15: Earliest date individuals claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) might see their refunds due to additional screening
  • April 15: Tax day - deadline for filing your 2023 tax returns or requesting an extension; after this date, late filing penalties may apply.
  • April 16: Refunds that were delayed due to claiming EITC or ACTC should begin arriving after this date, assuming all other requirements are met.
  • June 15: Last chance to file a 2023 tax return for U.S. citizens living abroad, including military personnel on duty outside the U.S
  • Extension deadline dates: These vary based on IRS announcements, but expect a mid-October deadline for those who request an extension to file their tax returns.

If you experienced any major life changes this year (e.g. income changes, marriage/divorce, retirement, new house, investments), consider consulting a tax professional (CPA or EA) to ensure compliance with tax laws and take advantage of any beneficial changes.

The IRS is making good progress with implementing new technologies that will enable it to process tax returns faster compared to the last few years, when it was dealing with backlogs due to the pandemic.

The normal tax deadline is April 15, 2024 (April 17 for Maine and Massachusetts residents due to state holidays). The weeks before the deadline are when the IRS processes the highest number of returns. If you cannot file by April 15, you can request an automatic 6-month extension.

Taxpayers filing their returns can often receive their federal tax refund (check or direct deposit) in as little as 2-3 weeks.

The IRS usually starts accepting returns in late January.

The IRS typically begins accepting tax returns in late January, but Congress may cause a delay. If you're expecting a refund and have it deposited, you may receive it as early as mid- or late February, without a tax refund loan.

“The IRS says most e-filed tax refunds are directly deposited into taxpayer bank accounts in as little as 10 days.”

Taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit, and other credits may experience a delay of up to one month while the IRS verifies eligibility.

If your tax refund is delayed, use the IRS "Where's My Refund?" tool or the IRS2Go app to check its status. E-filing is the quickest way to receive your refund as soon as you have all the necessary documents, such as W2s, 1099s, and mortgage and student loan interest.

When a taxpayer may get their refund depends on multiple elements, such as when the return is filed, whether the taxpayer is claiming credits (like EITC and CTC), and if the return was e-filed or mailed. Existing debts to the federal government can also impact the timing of a refund.

However, if you owe back taxes, child support, or certain federal debts such as student loans, your refund can be offset to satisfy these obligations. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will send you a notice if your refund is offset. In these situations, understanding the Treasury Offset Program is important.

Importance of Accurate and Complete Tax Returns

Submitting accurate and complete tax returns is pivotal for several reasons, directly impacting the efficiency and outcome of the tax filing process. Accuracy ensures that you are reporting the correct income, which helps avoid penalties for underreporting taxes or incorrect filing status. Furthermore, it expedites the refund process by reducing the chances of audits or reviews, which can be time-consuming and stressful.

On the other hand, completeness is about making sure every relevant piece of information is included in your tax return. This ensures you take advantage of all the deductions and credits you're entitled to, ultimately lowering your tax liability. Here's why accuracy and completeness are crucial for your tax returns:

  • Reduces the risk of audits

Inaccurate or incomplete returns can trigger alarms for the IRS, leading to further scrutiny and potential audits. Filing accurate and complete information will minimize this risk.

  • Ensures faster refund processing

Correct information allows the IRS to process refunds without delay caused by the need to verify details or correct errors.

  • Avoids penalties and interests

If you underreport income or claim inappropriate deductions, you might be subject to penalties and interest. Being thorough and accurate prevents unnecessary expenses.

  • Helps in claiming the right deductions and credits

Including all pertinent tax information helps in identifying and claiming all deductions and credits for which you are eligible.

  • Facilitates future tax filings

Keeping accurate records and filing complete returns makes it easier to prepare future tax filings and trace your financial information over the years.

  • Safeguards your legal rights

A proper tax return acts as a legal document, and accuracy ensures your rights are protected, particularly in instances where proof of income and tax payments are required.

  • Assists tax professionals

If you use the services of a tax professional, providing them with precise and full information enables them to assist you effectively.

  • Ensures compliance with tax laws

Tax laws are complex and ever-changing. Filing accurate and complete returns signifies adherence to current regulations, which keeps you compliant and potentially saves you from legal consequences.

What Forms Do You Need To File Your Tax Return?

It's important to have all necessary documents ready before starting your tax return to ensure both accuracy and completeness. Some of the key forms include:

  • Form W-2: For employees, this form reports your annual wages and the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck.
  • Form 1099: If you're an independent contractor or have other sources of income, such as interest or dividends, you'll likely have a 1099 form.
  • Form 1098: For homeowners, this document reports the amount of mortgage interest you've paid during the tax year.
  • Form 1040: The U.S. Individual Income Tax Return is the standard federal income tax form used to report an individual's gross income.
  • Form 1098-E: If you're paying back student loans, this form reports the interest you paid during the year, which may be deductible.
  • Form 1098-T: Issued by educational institutions, this form provides information on tuition paid or scholarships received which could qualify you for education-related tax deductions or credits.
  • Schedule A: For itemizing deductions like medical expenses and charitable contributions.
  • Schedule C: For reporting income or loss from a business you operate or a profession you practice as a sole proprietor.
  • Schedule D: To report capital gains or losses from the sale of securities, real estate, and other assets.
  • Form 8863: For those eligible to claim education credits.

Having these forms on hand before you start your tax return can significantly streamline the process. It's also a good idea to have last year's tax return available for reference. Remember, late or incorrect forms could delay your return. Therefore, always double-check that you have received all your income statements before filing.

How Early Should You File Your Tax Return?

Filing your tax return early can benefit you in several ways. It allows more time to gather documents, review your return for accuracy, and resolve any issues ahead of the typical April deadline. Filing early also means you're likely to receive your refund sooner, which can be particularly helpful for organizing funds.

However, it's essential not to rush and miss out on crucial deductions and credits just for the sake of submitting early. Make sure you have all the required forms and information before filing. If you're waiting for a particular document, it's better to file a complete and accurate return a bit later than to submit it early with missing information.

Early filing can also protect against identity theft by ensuring your return is accepted first before a potential criminal can file a fraudulent claim with your information. Nonetheless, always balance the benefits of filing early with being diligent in preparing an accurate and complete return.

What If You Can’t File Your Income Taxes by April 15?

To file taxes without all necessary paperwork, taxpayers can submit Form 4868 for an automatic extension, which allows filing by October 15, 2024. No explanation is required. However, extension rules for individual states should be checked, as the date may differ from the federal extension date.

Even if you request an extension, taxes owed must be paid by April 15, 2024. If you're due a refund, you just need to file an extension request by April 15. A tax professional or DIY tax program can help you with both.

What Are the Consequences of Filing Late or Not at All?

Failing to file your tax return on time or not filing it at all can lead to significant penalties and interest charged by the IRS. For instance, the penalty for filing late is usually 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month that the tax return is late. However, if you're due a refund, there are no penalties for late filing.

If you don't file at all, the IRS can file a substitute return on your behalf, which might not include all the deductions and credits you're entitled to, resulting in a higher tax liability.

In extreme cases, this liability can lead to more severe actions from the IRS, including property liens and even criminal prosecution. Furthermore, neglecting to file a tax return can impact your eligibility for future loans or government benefits, as these often require proof of tax compliance.

To mitigate these issues, it's important to contact the IRS or a tax professional as soon as possible if you're unable to file or pay your taxes. With proper communication, you may arrange a payment plan or explore other options such as an Offer in Compromise, where the IRS agrees to settle your tax liability for less than the full amount owed.

Always strive to file complete and accurate returns to maintain good standing with the IRS and take advantage of all eligible tax benefits - deductions, credits, and incentives designed to reduce tax liabilities can contribute to potential savings during filing. Remember, utilizing deductions like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit can be a major help for those who qualify.

What Can You Do If You Make a Mistake on Your Tax Return?

If you discover an error after filing your tax return, you should amend it as soon as possible using Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The form allows you to correct errors like filing status, income, deductions, or credits on your original return. Generally, to claim a refund, you must file Form 1040-X within three years from the date you filed your original tax return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.

Amended returns can take up to 16 weeks to process. You cannot add or change your refund direct deposit information through the amended return, and should you owe additional taxes, it is imperative to pay the amount due immediately to avoid more interest and penalties. For those who can't pay in full, the IRS offers payment options such as installment agreements for more manageable repayments.

Please note that not all errors require an amended return: some mistakes, such as simple math errors or missing forms, may be corrected by the IRS through routine processing. However, if you realize that you forgot to include a particular income, credit, or deduction, filing an amended return is the proper course of action to ensure your tax records are accurate.

Keeping Ahead: Ensuring a Smooth Tax Filing Experience

To summarize, staying proactive with tax preparation involves early organization, accurate documentation, and timely actions. Begin by gathering all necessary tax-related documents early, double-check them for accuracy, and file your return as soon as possible to receive refunds expediently, avoid identity theft, and reduce the stress associated with last-minute filing.

Should you be unable to meet the April 15 deadline, don't hesitate to file for an extension using Form 4868. Nevertheless, be aware that any taxes owed are still due on April 15, despite the granted extension for your documentation submission.

IRS Refund Schedule 2024

The IRS has not released the 2024 refund schedule yet. E-filing and paper filing begin on January 29, 2024.

Accepted By IRS Approved by IRS Direct Deposit Sent Paper Check Mailed
January 29, 2024 January 24, 2024 February 3, 2024 February 10, 2024
January 25, 2024 January 31, 2024 February 10, 2024 February 17, 2024
February 1, 2024 February 7, 2024 February 17, 2024 February 24, 2024
February 8, 2024 February 14, 2024 February 24, 2024 March 3, 2024
February 15, 2024 February 21, 2024 March 3, 2024 March 10, 2024
February 22, 2024 February 28, 2024 March 10, 2024 March 17, 2024
March 1, 2024 March 7, 2024 March 17, 2024 March 24, 2024
March 8, 2024 March 14, 2024 March 24, 2024 March 31, 2024
March 15, 2024 March 21, 2024 March 31, 2024 April 7, 2024
March 22, 2024 March 28, 2024 April 7, 2024 April 14, 2024
March 29, 2024 April 4, 2024 April 14, 2024 April 21, 2024
April 5, 2024 April 11, 2024 April 21, 2024 April 28, 2024
April 12, 2024 April 18, 2024 April 28, 2024 May 5, 2024
April 15, 2024 April 21, 2024 May 31, 2024 June 07, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

How does filing early benefit me?

Filing early can lead to quicker refunds, less competition for assistance from tax preparers, and increased peace of mind. It reduces the risk of tax-related identity theft and gives you more time to address any issues or audits that may arise from your submission.

What happens if I miss the April 15 deadline?

Missing the deadline without filing for an extension can result in penalties and interest charges. You may also forfeit some of your rights for disputing taxes if a substitute return is filed by the IRS.

Avoid these consequences by filing for an extension and paying any owed taxes by April 15 to prevent accruing additional interest and penalties.

Can I still claim refunds if I file late?

Yes, you can still claim a refund if you file late, but remember the claim must be submitted within three years of the tax return's original due date. After that, any unclaimed refunds become the property of the U.S. Treasury. Therefore, even with an extension, it's essential to act promptly to receive any refunds owed to you.

Postponing filing beyond the extension date without good cause can jeopardize your refund. Stay alert to deadlines and prioritize fiscal responsibilities to make the most of tax regulations working in your favor. Acting expediently not only secures your refund but helps sustain a clear financial profile.