The deadline for federal tax returns for the 2021 tax year is April 18, 2022. That’s no reason to wait until the last minute, however. Your experience filing taxes can change year by year as your financial situation changes and the IRS amends its rules.
Tax deductions are necessary to reduce how much money you need to send the IRS. You may have some new deductions this year that you didn’t use in the past. Or there may be some ways for you to save that you’re not aware of. Tap or click here to check out eight tax deductions to get you started.
Though the deadline is a few months away, you can start filing tax returns right now. The IRS began accepting and processing 2021 tax year returns on Jan. 24. Keep reading to find out what you can expect this year and simple ways to scan your important documents.
Here’s the backstory
The IRS is experiencing bottlenecks in processing returns going back to 2019. As of Dec. 31, 2021, the IRS had 6 million unprocessed individual tax returns. This results from “significantly more errors on tax returns” and returns requiring IRS employees’ attention.
The agency highlights the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) as part of the complications. As a result, it’s taking more than 21 days to issue refunds and some cases, up to 120 days.
This means you should get started on your 2021 returns as soon as possible, or you could experience delays when claiming the remainder of your Child Tax Credit and remaining stimulus funds.
The IRS anticipates that most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of filing electronically unless there are issues with their tax returns. The IRS recommends you use electronic filing to avoid delays and use the information letters provided by the agency to prevent errors.
These include a Child Tax Credit letter and Economic Impact letter, which were sent in December and January.
You have four options for electronically filing your tax returns:
- IRS Free File or Fillable Forms help you prepare and file your federal income tax online.
- Use a free tax return preparation site such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).
- Use commercial software.
- Find an authorized e-file provider.
More information on these methods can be found at irs.gov/filing/e-file-options.
Note that if you want to file using online tools such as the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, you may have to provide more personally identifying information in the future, including a selfie. Tap or click here for our report.
Scanning your documents
You can scan important documents into a digital format using your phone or tablet, making them easy to upload when filing taxes. You don’t need any third-party software.
Scanning documents with your iPhone:
- Open the Files app.
- Tap the three-dot menu icon.
- Tap Scan Documents.
- Tap Save when you’re done. The file will be stored as a PDF in the Files app.
Scanning documents with your Android phone using the Google Drive app:
- Open the Google Drive app.
- Tap the blue plus icon.
- Tap Scan.
- Tap OK when the image is correct then tap Save.
- Choose a folder to save the document and tap Save.