When Can I File My 2014 Taxes in 2015 and Other Key IRS Tax Return Filing, Extension and Refund Dates

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[Updated for 2015 Tax Filing Dates] The table below shows 2015 deadlines for filing 2014 tax returns and requesting extensions. Despite the threat of a government shutdown, tax agency hiring freeze and the congressional battle over extending tax provisions the IRS has confirmed that the 2015 tax season will progress on schedule.

An important point to note is that while you can file your taxes anytime after the beginning of the year, the IRS will not process any returns (paper or electronic) until IRS e-File goes live, which is January 20th this year. As always taxes are due by April 15th, though requesting an extension until Oct 2015 should not be that difficult to obtain for most tax payers. The IRS also reiterated that filing your taxes electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return and the fastest way to get a refund.

2015 Deadline
Tax Related Activity
January 1, 2015First day to file a 2014 tax return, though the IRS generally will not accept e-file and free file returns until the date below. Even paper based filings won't be processed till later in the month
January 20, 2015IRS E-file to go live, allowing submission of electronic tax returns for the vast majority of tax filers. Paper tax returns will begin processing from this date as well
January 31, 2015Date by which you should have received a W-2 from employers you worked for during the tax year. If not, contact their HR/Payroll department to resend tax documents
April 15, 2015*Tax Day* Last day for filing federal income tax returns and extension requests
April 15, 2015Deadline for filing state income tax returns (for most states) and extension requests
October 15, 2015Filing extended 2014 federal and state income returns. Note: you still need to file for an extension request by April 15th
April 15, 2018Filing a 2014 tax amendment. You can file an amended or previous year return anytime, but you have a deadline of 3 years from the original due date to claim any tax refund.

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When will I get my IRS Tax Refund?

Once your return is accepted by the IRS, the IRS processes your refund based on the IRS E-file Refund Cycle Chart. Exact refund dates are based on IRS processing times and can be found in IRS Publication 2043 and IRS Topic 152 for both e-filed and mailed returns. After filing and assuming your tax return is on order  (see recommended providers)  you should receive your federal refund between 8 and 14 days. If you did not select the electronic deposit option, getting a paper check mailed to you adds about a week. As a general rule, you can expect your state tax refund within 30 days of the electronic filing date or the postmark date.

A common question I receive is, “Will I get my refund faster if I file earlier?” The short answer is not really. Filing early can be beneficial because you get your filing done sooner (less stress) and get your refund in hand, but the IRS has said average refund times are the same no matter when you file before April 15th. There are some other ancillary benefits of filing sooner like less chance of security issues with someone else filing falsely on your behalf but for most people they are dependent on their employer(s) to provide tax documents like W-2’s before they can file. My advice is to file between mid-February and the end of March, to ensure you have all your tax forms and documentation in order.

See the earlier tax years filing information in updates below for other details and answers to frequently asked questions. I will continue to updates 2015 schedule dates if they change and encourage you to connect via RSS, Facebook, Twitter or Email to get the latest updates. You can also see this article for 2015 tax brackets and changes that will impact your tax filing next year.

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[Updated for 2013-2014 tax season] Due to the government shutdown in October 2013 most of the IRS staff were furloughed and so the backlog of work delayed systems being updated for the 2013-2014 tax filing season. Note however that the April 15th due date does not change, though requesting an extension until Oct 2014 should not be that difficult to obtain for most tax payers.

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2013 and Other Key Tax Filing, Extension and Refund Dates

The table below shows the main 2013 deadlines for filing 2012 tax returns and requesting extensions.

Deadline DateTax Related Activity
January 1, 2013First day to file a 2012 tax return. Though the IRS generally will not accept e-file and free file returns until the date below. Even paper based filings won't be processed till later in the month
January 30, 2013IRS e-file to go live, allowing submission of electronic tax returns for the vast majority of tax filers
April 15, 2013*Tax Day* Last day for filing 2012 federal income tax returns and extension requests
April 15, 2013Deadline for filing state income tax returns (for most states) and extension requests
October 15, 2013Filing extended 2013 federal and state income returns
April 15, 2016Filing a 2012 tax amendment. You can file an amended or previous year return anytime, but you have a deadline of 3 years from the original due date to claim any tax refund.

While you can paper file your 2012 tax return on January 1st 2013,  the IRS will not process any returns until after Jan 30th, 2013.  After filing and assuming your tax return is on order  (see recommended providers)  you should receive your federal refund between 8 and 14 days after they accept your return. If you did not select the electronic deposit option, getting a paper check mailed to you adds about a week. As a general rule, you can expect your state tax refund within 30 days of the electronic filing date or the postmark date.

How long will it take the IRS to process my return and send me my refund check in 2013: The IRS has announced that it expects to process 2013 refunds within the same time frames as in 2012 where they issued more than nine out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days in 2012.

Other key 2013 income tax filing deadlines include (Excerpted with permission from J.K. Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2013: For Preparing Your 2012 Tax Return):

January 15, 2013 – Pay the balance of your 2012 estimated tax. Estimated taxes are tax due on income that is not subject to (employer) payroll withholding. This includes self-employment income, interest, dividends and alimony. If you do not meet this date, you may avoid an estimated tax penalty for the last quarter by filing your 2012 return and paying the balance due by January 31,2013.

January 31, 2013 – Make sure you have received a Form W-2 from each employer for whom you worked in 2012. If not, contact their HR/Payroll department. They are obligated to provided this information by this date.

April 15, 2013 – File your 2012 tax return and pay the balance of your tax. If you cannot meet the April 15 deadline, you may obtain an automatic six-month filing extension by filing Form 4868 (on paper or electronically). However, even if you get an extension, interest will still be charged for taxes not paid by April 15, and late payment penalties will be imposed unless at least 90% of your tax liability is paid by this date or you otherwise show reasonable cause. If you cannot pay the full amount of tax you owe when you file your return, you can file Form 9465 to request an installment payment arrangement.  April 15th is also the due date to pay the first installment of your 2013 estimated tax.

If on this date you are a U.S. citizen or resident living and working outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or in military service outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, you have an automatic two-month filing extension until June 17, 2013.

June 17, 2013 – Pay the second installment of your 2013 estimated tax. You may amend your estimate at this time. If on April 15 you were a U.S. citizen or resident living and working outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or in military service outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, file your 2012 return and pay the balance due. You may obtain an additional four-month filing extension until October 15, 2013, by filing Form 4868.

If you are a nonresident alien who did not have tax withheld from your wages, file Form 1040NR by this date and pay the balance due.

September 16, 2013 – Pay the third installment of your 2013 estimated tax. You may amend your estimate at this time.

October 15, 2013 – File your 2012 return if you received an automatic six-month filing extension using Form 4868. Also file your 2012 return and pay the balance due if on April 15 you were a U.S. citizen or resident living and working outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, or in military service outside the U.S. or Puerto Rico, and by June 17 you qualified for an additional four-month extension by filing Form 4868.

December 31, 2013 – If self-employed, this is the last day to set up a Keogh plan for 2013.

January 15, 2014 – Pay the balance of your 2013 estimated tax.

April 15, 2014 – File your 2013 return and pay the balance of your tax. Pay the first installment of your 2014 estimated tax by this date.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Haley February 13, 2015

I filed on the Jan 24!! And it is still processing! Why!! I don’t understand!! People filed a week or two after me and they already received theres!!

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Haley February 12, 2015

why it take so long to process??

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Jenny January 23, 2015

Wondering which tax software is the best for filing your return? By way of bloomberg here is a review

TaxACT is the cheapest option for most people. With only 115 full-time employees, TaxACT spends little on marketing but handles 7 million returns a year. Its pricing is relatively simple: Nothing at all for a basic federal filing tool with all the necessary forms, plus $15 for state filing. A deluxe package — federal return, state return and more guidance — costs $20.

H&R Block claims the cheapest option – $20 for a state and federal return. But that’s only available to those who fit narrow criteria, homeowners or others who file a 1040 form with Schedule A. And it’s only a better deal than TaxACT’s $20 option if you take into account H&R Block’s “in-person audit support.” Other H&R Block federal options cost $30 and $50 online.

TurboTax charges $37 for a state return on top of a federal return (the same as H&R Block). TurboTax raised prices by $5 this year, bringing “premier” to $55, or more than $90, if you include a state return. TurboTax says it can charge more because it’s a better product than its rivals;

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jen January 23, 2015

When is the IRS excepting efiles for self employed individuals? The site has it as “draft forms”?

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Andy (Author) January 23, 2015

Great question. For Self employed individuals you should be able to file from next week. Though if you generate your own W2 (for S-corp or LLC) you should be able to file as an individual now and for your business later

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Jessica January 23, 2015

If I file my taxes today. 1/23. Then it gets direct deposit into my account within 10 days correct? So I should have my refund by 2/2?

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Andy (Author) January 23, 2015

You should get in the prescribed time. But check the IRS, “Where is my refund tool” from IRS.gov to get the latest status. Also if there are issues with your return it may take longer to receive your refund.

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Alyssa January 23, 2015

I filed my tax return on 1/14/15 and it was accepted right on 1/20/15, however, it is only received to this day 1/23/15. Any reason why it hasnt been processed yet or are they not going to process ANY returns until 1/31. I got my refund within 7 days last year and dont know why it’s taking so long this year when i filed earlier.
Thanks

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mimi January 24, 2015

I did this too I also checked where is my refund it just sat received… Last yr I got my refund n like 7 day… I don’t know y its taking longer this year… Sorry no help..

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tyjeer January 20, 2015

What if you filed your taxes already but then you get w2 in you forgot that you work there???

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Andy (Author) January 20, 2015

You then have to file an amended return.

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Jenny January 16, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance today announced the launch of Free File, which makes brand-name tax software products and electronic filing available to most taxpayers for free.

Free File software can help taxpayers with tax preparation, including the health care law that will affect almost everyone. People can use Free File software immediately but e-filed returns will not be transmitted to the IRS until Tuesday, January 20, when the filing season officially begins.

Free File is available only at IRS.gov/FreeFile, thanks to a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a consortium of 14 leading tax software companies that make their branded products available for free. Since 2003, more than 43 million people have used Free File, saving $1.3 billion based on a conservative $30-fee estimate.

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richard January 10, 2015

What tax breaks for first time home buyer’s are available for 2014/15

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Andy (Author) January 11, 2015

Other than the mortgage interest deductions, no new ones. But you can see this article I wrote on a 2015 homebuyer credit in terms of lower FHA mortgage insurance.

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Jenny January 3, 2015

If I file before or right on the 1/20 deadline will I get my refund faster?

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Andy (Author) January 4, 2015

There is not much of a timing difference in your refund if you file sooner rather than later. But the advantage of filing earlier is that you get it out of the way (less stress), reduce the risk of someone filing on your behalf (a common IRS security risk) and also provide time to file any amendments. That being said, filing early is hard for a lot of people because they need to wait till the end of Jan to get employer documents (W2 etc) and also the IRS sometimes has internal delays due to issues with their systems when processing early returns.

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Andy January 28, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that processing of tax returns claiming education credits will begin by the middle of February. Taxpayers using Form 8863, Education Credits, can begin filing their tax returns after the IRS updates its processing systems. Form 8863 is used to claim two higher education credits — the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit

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Mia January 26, 2015

By education credit do you mean POEPLE using form 1098? I already filled and I wanted to know if it would take even longer to receive my refund because I added my 1098. I filed on 1/16 and My refund status is “accepted”

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Andy January 23, 2013

The IRS has confirmed that it will begin processing most individual income tax returns on Jan. 30 after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems.

The IRS will not process paper or electronic tax returns before the Jan. 30 opening date, so there is no advantage to filing on paper before then. Using e-file is the best way to file an accurate tax return, and using e-file with direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund. Many major software providers are accepting tax returns in advance of the Jan. 30 processing date. These software providers will hold onto the returns and then electronically submit them after the IRS systems open. If you use commercial software, check with your provider for specific instructions about when they will accept your return. Software companies and tax professionals send returns to the IRS, but the timing of the refunds is determined by IRS processing, which starts Jan. 30.

After the IRS starts processing returns, it expects to process refunds within the usual timeframes. Last year, the IRS issued more than nine out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days, and it expects the same results in 2013. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, some tax returns will require additional review and take longer. To help protect against refund fraud, the IRS has put in place stronger security filters this filing season.

After taxpayers file a return, they can track the status of the refund with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on the IRS.gov website. New this year, instead of an estimated date, Where’s My Refund? will give people an actual personalized refund date after the IRS processes the tax return and approves the refund. “Where’s My Refund?” will be available for use after the IRS starts processing tax returns on Jan. 30. Initial information will generally be available within 24 hours after the IRS receives the taxpayer’s e-filed return or four weeks after mailing a paper return. The system updates every 24 hours, usually overnight. There’s no need to check more than once a day.

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