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Tax season is here, what you need to know

The tax season for 2022 kicked off Monday.

The Internal Revenue Service has started accepting and processing 2021 tax returns. However, you still might not have all the forms and information needed to file your return yet.

Before you file your returns this tax season, there are some things you need to know. The IRS is reminding taxpayers to take extra precautions this year.

How to make sure you get your refunds as quickly as possible

The IRS said is filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is more important than ever this year to avoid refund delays.

Also, the IRS is urging taxpayers to make sure they file accurately to avoid delays especially if they received a stimulus or child tax credit.

For most taxpayers who file a tax return with no issues, the IRS anticipates they will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically if they choose direct deposit.

"If you have a refund coming whether it's a little bit or a lot, then you should file as early as possible and then have the refund come directly to your bank account," said local accountant and owner of Palm Desert Tax Richard Varnell.

When is the tax filing deadline?

The 2022 tax reason runs from Jan. 24 to April 18. The deadline is three days later than the normal April 15 deadline for filing.

Do I qualify for IRS Free File?

IRS Free File lets you prepare and file your taxes online using free tax software. To qualify for it, your adjusted gross income in 2021 must be $73,000 or less.

If you earned more, you can file your taxes using Free File Fillable Forms, which is the electronic version of the federal tax forms.

What to know about Child Tax Credit payments

Parents and guardians who got advance child tax credits need to be on the lookout for a letter from the IRS in their mailbox. The letter includes the total amount of 2021 advance child tax credit payments.

Letter 6419 is critical to filing your 2021 taxes and child tax credit. It will ensure accuracy and avoid delays.

What to know about tax filing stimulus checks

The IRS said it is sending letters to taxpayers who got a third federal stimulus check in 2021. It will include how much the taxpayer received in stimulus money in 2021. The letter is labeled Letter 6475

If sent Letter 6475, IRS says to keep it and use it to complete your tax return.

According to the IRS, the letter will help Economic Impact Payment recipients determine if they are entitled to and should claim the recovery rebate credit on their 2021 tax returns when they file in 2022.

What to do if you're still waiting on tax returns from 2020

If you're still waiting on 2020 tax returns, the IRS says you still file your 2021 taxes. The IRS also says for those waiting on their 2020 tax return to be processed, to make sure to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year's AGI on the 2021 tax return.

The IRS said it is trying to balance the pandemic and staffing challenges and asks for patience.

As of mid-December, the IRS had a backlog of 6.2 million unprocessed original individual returns (forms 1040) and 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual returns (Form 1040-X), according to a report by the National Taxpayer Advocate

"If you have a refund coming and they don't pay you on time, they will add their imputed interest rate to your refund. So that's the good news of it," said Varnell.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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