a pen and a notebook

Media / Blog

How Soon Can You File Your Taxes?


Payday Loans without the Wait: The iOS App’s Speed

January 14, 2024

As the new year unfolds, many individuals begin thinking about the arrival of tax season. With the proposed April 15th deadline (unless you file for an extension), many individuals decide to start tax planning early so that they can avoid any surprises. Whether you're a seasoned taxpayer or a newcomer to the process, one common question often arises: When is the soonest you can file your taxes?

Understanding the Tax Calendar:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) adheres to a strict tax calendar that outlines important dates for taxpayers throughout the year. While the official tax filing season typically begins in late January, the earliest date you can file your federal income tax return may vary depending on several factors.

1. IRS Readiness: The IRS plays a crucial role in setting the tone for the tax season. Historically, the agency opens its e-filing system in late January. However, the exact date can fluctuate based on various considerations, such as legislative changes, system updates, and procedural adjustments. Taxpayers are advised to stay informed about the IRS's official announcements to determine when the gates to tax filing will officially open.

2. Paper vs. Electronic Filing: In the digital age, electronic filing (e-filing) has become the preferred method for submitting tax returns. E-filing not only expedites the processing of your return but also allows for faster refunds. While the IRS begins accepting electronic returns in late January, paper filers may need to wait longer. Understanding the advantages of e-filing can help you strategize the optimal time to submit your tax documents.

3. Income Documentation: The timing of your tax filing is also contingent on the receipt of necessary income documents. Employers, financial institutions, and other entities are required to provide W-2s, 1099s, and other relevant forms by specific deadlines. Waiting for all your income documentation ensures the accuracy of your return and prevents the need for amendments later on.

4. Tax Law Changes: Tax laws are subject to change, and updates can impact the timing of tax filing. Keeping abreast of any legislative adjustments ensures that you file your taxes in accordance with the latest regulations. Be on the lookout for announcements related to tax law changes and their potential impact on filing timelines.

The Earliest Filing Dates:

With the deadline of April 15th, many wonder when is the earliest filing date? Using these options below, the earliest possible dates to submit your federal tax return are:

1. E-Filing: As mentioned earlier, the IRS typically opens its e-filing system in late January. However, specific dates can vary from year to year. It's crucial to check the IRS website or reliable tax software platforms for the most up-to-date information on when e-filing becomes available.

2. Free File Program: The Free File Program, a collaboration between the IRS and tax software companies, allows eligible taxpayers to prepare and file their federal tax returns for free. This program often opens earlier than the general tax filing season. Eligibility is determined by income, so be sure to check if you qualify for this early filing option.

  • Your AGI must be $73,000 or less to take advantage of free guided tax preparation.
  • Free guided tax preparation is done through one of the IRS' tax preparation partners.
  • If you do not qualify for IRS Free File, you can download and use fillable forms to file your taxes.

3. Military Personnel and Overseas Filers: Members of the military and U.S. citizens living abroad may benefit from special filing deadlines. The IRS provides extensions for these groups, allowing them additional time to gather the necessary documentation and file their returns.

Factors Influencing Your Decision:

While the allure of filing taxes early is evident, it's essential to consider various factors that may influence your decision on when to submit your return.

1. Refund Anticipation: If you're expecting a tax refund, filing early could expedite the process of receiving your money. However, it's important to note that factors such as refundable credits, deductions, and the method of payment (direct deposit or check) can impact the speed at which you receive your refund.

2. Tax Planning: Filing early provides a clearer financial picture, allowing you to plan for any tax liabilities or potential refunds. Understanding your tax situation early on enables you to make informed financial decisions throughout the year.

3. Avoiding the Last-Minute Rush: Filing early helps you avoid the last-minute rush that often occurs as the tax deadline approaches. By submitting your return ahead of time, you reduce the risk of encountering technical issues, delays, or overlooked details that may arise in the eleventh hour.

The soonest you can file your taxes is contingent on various factors, including IRS readiness, the method of filing, income documentation, and tax law changes. While the general tax filing season typically begins in late January, specific dates can vary, and it's crucial to stay informed about updates from the IRS. Ultimately, the decision of when to file your taxes depends on your individual circumstances and financial goals. Whether you choose to file early for a quicker refund or prefer to take your time to ensure accuracy, understanding the nuances of the tax calendar empowers you to make informed decisions throughout the tax-filing process.

If you would like to receive more information on making smart money moves for your future, be sure to contact us today!


Money Matters: Maximizing Savings on Your Vehicle Protection Plan

About the author

Guest Author

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

Investor Disclosures: https://bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

Sign Up

Sign up for our exclusive Sunday Paper with a weekly market commentary, insightful personal finance blogs, and life changing education guides.

Email sign up

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. https://Bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered Representatives of Kestra IS and Investment Advisor Representatives of Kestra AS may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Not all products and services referenced on this site are available in every state and through every representative or advisor listed. For additional information, please contact Kestra IS Compliance Department at 844-553-7872.

PLEASE NOTE: The information being provided is strictly as a courtesy. When you link to any of the web sites provided here, you are leaving this web site. Kestra IS and Kestra AS makes no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these web sites. Nor is Kestra IS and Kestra AS liable for any direct or indirect technical or system issues or any consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies, web sites, information and programs made available through this web site. When you access one of these web sites, you are leaving our web site and assume total responsibility and risk for your use of the web sites you are linking to.