The official start to tax season


The IRS announced that it would officially start accepting returns on January 23. The deadline this year falls on Tuesday, April 18, as the normal 15th is a weekend.

The IRS starts the season off on shaky ground after the last few years. Between last minute tax law changes, poorly administered pandemic relief, and staffing challenges, the agency has struggled to get out from underneath a mountain of backlog, never mind actually providing quality customer service to the taxpayers still calling in hoping to get answers to their tax questions.

However, the last several months seem to have shown an uptick, alongside prospective steps by the IRS to try to demonstrate readiness for the upcoming filing season.

Recently, the following get ready tips and announcements were released on the IRS website:

The tips include a listing of the current online tools that both practitioners as well as taxpayers can take advantage of to assist them, especially when phone waiting times are still predictably long.

The IRS Newsroom also made note of the refund delays from the last two years, citing that they are better prepared for 2023 and back to issuing guidance that refunds on electronically filed returns, with direct deposit, should be sent within 21 days of filing.

The news is welcomed by all, especially burnt out practitioners who have struggled to serve their clients during the last several years. The original backlog of over 10 million unprocessed paper returns has been reduced by about two thirds.

Practitioners are cautiously optimistic, starting the season. Many notices have still not received responses or processed the written replies, which add to stress and time delays as much as unprocessed returns. It remains to be seen what the 2023 season performance will entail but for now, we’re about a week away from the nation’s first returns hitting send. 

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