We’re pretty familiar with the tax deadline on April 15 (although it’s extended to Monday, April 18, 2016 this year). However, the first day to file taxes each year often depends on what Congress has done recently with any new laws that were implemented. This year is no different as congress signed new legislation at the end of December to extend various tax laws another year.
When is the Earliest You Can File Taxes?
The IRS announced the first day to file 2015 year taxes in 2016 will be on January 19, 2016.
Is there a delay this year?
The IRS is currently predicting an on time start to filing season. A few years ago, there was an IRS Tax Delay after the government shutdown.
Will the tax deadline be extended if there are delays?
No. Delays to the start of tax season usually do not lengthen the tax filing season; the tax deadline will still be April 18, 2016. You can request a tax extension if you need additional time to file.
When is the earliest I can file my taxes by paper?
If you file your taxes on paper, can you file before the first day? No. Tax returns, including paper returns, will not be processed before January 19. E-filing will still be the faster option to get your tax refund. The earliest you can file your taxes is set for January 19 for all filing methods.
Why Would You Want to File Your Taxes Early?
If you are expecting a tax refund the sooner you file the sooner you’ll get your refund. You can use our 2015 Tax Calculator to project your tax refund.
Also, if you need your completed tax return to show your income for other financial decisions, you’ll be able to complete those transactions sooner. This is usually necessary for financial aid applications for college students or mortgage applications if you are self employed.
Why you might need to know the first day to file taxes.
If you are feuding with an ex-spouse over dependents, be prepared that he or she may plan to file the first day to try to claim dependents.
You should be aware that the first to file a tax return will be able to claim dependents. If you are entitled to claim a dependent, and someone else files first claiming them, when you file using the same SSN you’ll get an error message. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to claim them, but be prepared with documentation to prove you are the correct person to claim the dependent and your tax filing status.
Filing Your Taxes Early
What do you need to file on the first day?
Even if you want to file on the first day, you must have your paperwork, including your W2 Form from your employer before you can file. If you don’t receive your W2, you can file a substitute W2 using Form 4852, but only after February 14.
In addition, if you are claiming the health insurance premium tax credit, you’ll need your forms to claim the health insurance premium tax credit. Otherwise, you’ll be subject to penalties for no health insurance.
Can you enter your information earlier?
Yes, many tax preparation programs, including TurboTax, will let you begin working on your tax return before the first day to file. You can enter your information, but you will not be able to file your tax return until the first day to file.
Will your tax refund be delayed?
Normally, you can expect your tax refund in 21 days: How Long Does it Take to Get Your Tax Refund? If the IRS issues an update, I’ll let you know!
When do you plan to file your taxes?
More Tax Filing Questions