Today marks the first day Americans can file 2021 tax returns. The IRS moved up the start of filing season by two weeks this year because of anticipated slowdowns. The agency warns of possible processing delays due to staffing shortages, high volume of phone calls, and a backlog of unprocessed returns. This year marks a return to the traditional April filing deadline, after it was delayed the last two years due to the pandemic. The filing deadline is April 18.
If you're concerned about a delayed return, there are several things you can do to ensure a speedier process. Filing early is fine, but only if you're ready to do so. "The problem you're going to have with filing early is do you have all the forms that you need to file," says Richard Rosso, certified financial planner. "Sure, you might have your W-2, but do you have everything that you need?'
Rosso also recommends filing electronically, and getting some help with your return if necessary. "I would not be using paper---and I don't know anybody who really does anymore---but I would be taking the United States Postal Service out of the equation," he tells KTRH. "I would also make sure to use direct deposit...you don't want to be waiting for a paper check."
"Also, you don't want any mistakes in your tax return, because the more mistakes they pick up, the more they're going to have to come back to you, and the more that's going to delay your refund," Rosso continues. "So, if you can use a tax preparer---and I understand that can be expensive for some---that can be helpful."
For those expecting and waiting on a large refund this year, consider a change in perspective. "Psychologically, you have to move away from expecting or getting refunds every year," says Rosso. "That is a return of your own money."
"You really should make sure you fine tune your withholding, so you get as little refund as possible and keep as much money (during the year) as possible."