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IRS Announces Start of Tax Filing Season, Continuing a Recent Trend Toward Later Starts

Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting looks at the start of tax filing season for 2019 tax returns.



The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that it will start accepting and processing 2019 tax returns on January 27, 2020.

The IRS stated that the start date was selected to give them time to ensure the security and readiness of key tax processing systems and to address the potential impact of recent tax legislation on 2019 tax returns. The Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2020, enacted on December 20, 2019, included many tax provisions with a potential impact on 2019 tax returns.

  • In 2019, the January 28 start date was impacted by the government shutdown
  • In 2018, the January 29 start date was impacted by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, also enacted late in the year
  • In the three years prior to that, the start date had fallen earlier, ranging from January 19 to January 23.


The start date is important for taxpayers hoping to receive tax refunds as soon as possible and also for tax return preparers hoping to spread out the tax filing season as long as possible. Factors to consider with the announced start date include:

  • Tax return preparers can still start work on tax returns ahead of the tax filing start date as soon as tax software providers update their software, incorporating year-end tax changes
  • Many of the year-end tax changes that could impact 2019 tax returns could also have an impact on 2018 tax returns, so 2018 amended tax returns should also be considered
  • The IRS continues to encourage e-filing of tax returns and choosing direct deposit for faster refunds and more accurate returns
  • The IRS is still prohibited by law from issuing tax refunds for returns claiming certain tax breaks until February 15, 2020
  • The due date for individual tax returns is April 15, 2020, with no additional days due to weekends or holidays this year


Federal tax expert Mark Luscombe, JD, LL.M, CPA, Principal Federal Tax Analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, is available to discuss issues around the start of tax filing season.

PLEASE NOTE: The content of this article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. The information is provided with the understanding that Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services.

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