The tax filing deadline for submitting 2021 tax returns is Monday, April 18, 2022, for most taxpayers. This deadline also applies to taxpayers seeking an extension to file and pay taxes owed. Since by law tax deadlines are impacted by holidays, this deadline which is usually around April 15 will be April 18 instead because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia, except for taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts. Taxpayers in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19, 2022, to file their returns due to the Patriots’ Day holiday in those states. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, October 17, 2022, to file.

Accessing Tax Filing Information

The IRS has acknowledged that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a strain on the systematic processing of tax returns. They have since announced that they are making headway in completing all tax returns filed in 2020. They also clarified that taxpayers generally will not need to wait for their 2020 tax returns before they can file their 2021 tax returns. This means, there is no need to delay your tax filing for 2021 if you have all your required documents ready.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to take advantage of the online resources available through their website IRSgov before calling for assistance. They reported that during the previous tax filing season they received record-high phone call volumes. Taxpayers can also access free assistance at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly locations across the country and the IRS Free File program. According to the IRS, these online platforms provide a quick and easy way for taxpayers to get the information they need.

When Will Tax Returns Be Issued?

The IRS projects that most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically if they choose direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax return. As such, taxpayers and tax professionals are encouraged to file electronically to avoid delays in processing. Avoid filing paper returns wherever possible.

Some returns, filed electronically or on paper, may need manual review, which can cause delays in the processing procedure. Reviews are usually required if there is any detection of a possible error or missing information or suspected identity theft or fraud. This work, which may or may not include correspondence with the taxpayer, does require special handling by an IRS employee. This means, in these instances, it may take the IRS more than the normal 21 days to issue any related refund. In those cases where IRS is able to correct the return without corresponding, the IRS will send an explanation to the taxpayer.

Tips to Make Tax Filing Easier

To avoid processing delays and speed refunds, the IRS urges people to follow these steps:

Organize and gather 2021 tax records including Social Security numbers, Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, Adoption Taxpayer Identification Numbers, and this year’s Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers valid for calendar year 2022.

Check IRS.gov for the latest tax information, including the latest on reconciling advance payments of the Child Tax Credit or claiming a Recovery Rebate Credit for missing stimulus payments. There is no need to call.

Set up or log in securely at IRS.gov/account to access personal tax account information including balance, payments, and tax records including adjusted gross income.

Make final estimated tax payments for 2021 by Tuesday, January 18, 2022, to help avoid a tax-time bill and possible penalties.

Individuals can use a bank account, prepaid debit card, or mobile app to use direct deposit and will need to provide routing and account numbers. Learn how to open an account at an FDIC-Insured bank or through the National Credit 

File electronically and choose direct deposit


To speed refunds, the IRS urges taxpayers to file electronically with direct deposit information as soon as they have everything they need to file an accurate return. If the return includes errors or is incomplete, it may require further review that may slow the tax refund. Having all information available when preparing the 2021 tax return can reduce errors and avoid delays in processing.

Most individual taxpayers file IRS Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR once they receive Forms W-2 and other earnings information from their employers, issuers like state agencies and payers. The IRS has incorporated recent changes to the tax laws into the forms and instructions and shared the updates with its partners who develop the software used by individuals and tax professionals to prepare and file their returns. Forms 1040 and 1040-SR and the associated instructions are available now on IRS.gov. For the latest IRS forms and instructions, visit the IRS website at IRS.gov/forms.