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Ward off 2022 Tax Season Flu – File Early and Electronically

My grandfather was very understated, if he said he was “concerned” it meant he was worried sick about it. If he said he was “worried,” he meant, “all hands on-deck, 5 alarm fire, women and children to the life boats.” So, it is with that the Internal Revenue Service kicked off the 2022 tax filing season this week with an urgent reminder to taxpayers to take extra precautions this year to file an accurate tax return electronically to help speed refunds. “Urgent” may be a bit of an understatement. IRS commissioner, Chuck Rettig, recently commented, “In many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs.” He also noted the agency’s inability to respond to a record number of phone calls. 

As of the start of this tax season, the IRS has at least 10 million unprocessed returns from last year. Paper is kryptonite to the IRS, accounting for most of their backlog and workforce requirements during tax season. Certainly, yes, the pandemic and the requirement to work remotely has contributed to the IRS’s woes this year, but it’s not just COVID-19 affecting the IRS, there are systemic issues as well. Since 2010, the number of individual returns has increased nearly 20%, while the agency’s workforce has shrunk 17%. This circumstance has caused the IRS to pivot its workforce at its various Service Centers (offices where the bulk of most of the IRS customer facing functions occur) from their normal functions to simply processing returns and, where possible, requiring overtime by IRS employees. Anecdotally, IRS Service Centers are shutting down their taxpayer service operations for the next 5 or 6 months just to process returns. And, the IRS announced just today, January 28, its’ intention to stop some notices to taxpayers as they increase resources to process backlogged returns. “We decided to suspend notices in situations where we have credited taxpayers for payments but have no record of the tax return being filed,” the IRS said in a statement. “In many situations, the tax return may be part of our current paper tax inventory and simply hasn’t been processed.” This action is designed to ward off additional correspondence with taxpayer that would only add to the paper logjam plaguing the agency.

So, what can you do to avoid or minimize your tax season frustration? Filing early and electronically is a way – perhaps the only way – to avoid frustration. 

Filing electronically and early has the added benefit of receiving your tax refund sooner. Several factors can determine when you may receive your tax refund, including: 

  • How early you file
  • Whether the return is e-filed or sent by mail
  • If you are claiming certain credits (especially EITC and CTC)
  • If you have an existing debt to the federal government
  • The COVID stimulus payments sent out earlier in 2021 will not affect your income tax refund (however, if you were entitled to a stimulus check, but did not receive one, it can be added to your 2022 refund as a credit . . . but it will slow receipt down). 

The chart below shows the 2022 IRS Refund Schedule. Of course, it is not exact – the internal situation at the IRS and your own situation could cause delays. 

IRS Accepts E-Filed Return By: Direct Deposit Sent (Or Paper Check Mailed One Week Later):
January 24January 31 (February 11)**
January 31February 11 (February 18)*
February 7February 18 (February 25)*
February 14February 25 (March 4)*
February 21March 4 (March 11)*
February 28March 11 (March 18)
March 7March 18 (March 25)
March 14March 25 (April 2)
March 21April 1 (April 9)
March 28April 8 (April 15)**
April 4April 15 (April 22)**
April 11April 22 (April 29)**
April 18April 29 (May 6)
April 25May 6 (May 13)
May 2May 13 (May 20)
May 9May 20 (May 27)
May 16May 27 (June 4)
May 23June 4 (June 11)

* = Returns with EITC or CTC may have refunds delayed until March to verify credits.

** = Filing during peak season can result in slightly longer waits.

If you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Paul V. McCord has more than 20 years of tax litigation experience, including serving as a clerk on the U.S. Tax Court and as a judge of the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Paul has represented clients before the IRS, Michigan Department of Treasury, other state revenue departments and local units of government. He can be contacted at 517.377.0861 or

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