Tips on Filing Income Tax Returns

Tis the season once again for filing our income tax returns.  This time of year can be the cause of much angst but the IRS has tips for lessening the stress of these next couple of months. 

To start, filing deadline is April 18, 2022 due to Emancipation Day in Washington, DC.  So, you have three extra days to file.  If you live in a declared disaster zone, you may have additional time to file.  In any event, the sooner you file, the sooner you don’t have to think about it and, if you are entitled to a refund, the sooner you will get it.

Speaking of refunds; if there are no issues with your return and you elect direct deposit, you should receive your refund within 21 days.  Filing on paper will delay your refund.

Be sure to file an accurate return.  If you know you are missing a tax statement, don’t file a return without it.  You could delay the processing of your return without reporting all information.  Remember, in our electronic world, the IRS knows what should be on your return.

If you have questions, visit before trying to reach an agent on the phone.  The website is very user friendly.  There’s no wait time or appointment needed — online tools and resources are available 24 hours a day.

If you haven’t filed your 2020 Return, you can still work on filing your 2021 Return.  However, you may need your adjusted gross income (AGI) from 2020, so why not wrap up your 2020 and your 2021 return at the same time.

If your income qualifies you, consider using IRS Free File to prepare and file your return.  Check out the IRS website to determine your eligibility to use Free File.

If you have received Economic Impact Payments or advance Child Tax Credits in 2021, be cautious.  Make certain the information is correct so as not to delay the processing of your return.  To help in this regard, there will be IRS mailings about stimulus payments and Child Tax Credits.  If you have created an Online Account at, you can check this information electronically.  Remember that if you have received Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, no refunds will be issued until mid-February.

And finally, if you don’t normally file a return you may want to consider filing for CTC, other valuable credits which are available for people who don’t normally file a tax return and didn’t file a 2020 return or use the Non-Filers tool.  You may be able to qualify for important credits including the Recovery Rebate Credit (stimulus payment), advance Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS encourages people in this group to file a 2021 tax return so they can receive all the credits for which they’re eligible.

Happy filing.


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About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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