How To File a Tax Return
You have three options when it comes to filing your taxes:
- You can file manually by completing Form 1040 according to instructions provided by the IRS. This would require you to either e-file, or physically mail the form to the IRS, along with any payment you owe.
- You can use a tax software program or the website of a service like TurboTax or H&R Block. It will walk you through a series of questions about your income and potential deductions, fill out your 1040 based on your responses, and file it electronically for you.
- You can get professional help from an accountant or tax professional who will work with you to maximize your refund and fill out your tax return on your behalf.
The first option is free.3 If you go with the second option, you’ll likely have to pay a fee, although some programs offer free filing if your return is simple enough. The third option—professional help—will almost certainly cost you money.
When to file your tax return
Each of your tax returns covers one tax year. For almost all people, the tax year is just the standard calendar year, January through December. For the rest of this article, when we say tax year, we mean the calendar year unless we state otherwise.
You will file your federal income tax return early the following year. You file your 2021 tax return in early 2022. Each year the IRS sets the date when it will start accepting returns, but it’s usually in the last week of January.
2022 US tax filing deadline
The IRS announced that the national tax filing season will begin on Monday , January 24, 2022 , when the IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns for the 2021 tax year.
The United States has to file the previous year’s income tax before April 15 every year. The 2020 tax filing season and 2021 tax filing season have extended the deadline due to the new crown epidemic, but the start and deadline of the 2022 tax filing season are back on track, the IRS announced , the national tax filing season will begin on Monday, January 24, 2022, when the IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns for the 2021 tax year.
2022 tax return:
- On January 14 , the IRS’s free tax return opens. Taxpayers can begin submitting tax forms through the IRS Free Filing Partners; tax forms will begin arriving at the IRS on January 24. Tax software companies are also accepting early tax returns.
- January 18, due date for estimated taxes for the fourth quarter of the 2021 tax year.
- On January 24 , the IRS opened the 2022 tax season, beginning to accept and process 2021 individual tax returns.
- January 28th is Low Income Families Benefit Promotion Day to raise awareness of important tax credits, including how to use prior year income to qualify for the credit.
- April 18 , the deadline to file 2021 tax returns, or apply for an extension and pay taxes owed
- April 19 , if you live in Massachusetts or Maine, the deadline to file your 2021 tax return or request an extension and pay the taxes you owe (extended due to the Patriots Day holiday)
- October 17th, the deadline for filing a 2021 extension
In 2022, the tax brackets are as follows:
|Marginal Tax Rate||Single or Married Filing Separately||Married Filing Jointly|
|10%||$9,950 or less||$19,900 or less|
|12%||$9,951 or more||$19,901 or more|
|22%||$40,526 or more||$81,051 or more|
|24%||$86,376 or more||$172,751 or more|
|32%||$164,926 or more||$329,851 or more|
|35%||$209,426 or more||$418,841 or more|
|37%||$523,601 or more||$628,301 or more|
The IRS adjusts these taxable income amounts annually for inflation.
Income thresholds for filing 2021 taxes
|Filing status||Age||Gross income|
|Single||65 or older||$14,200|
|Married filing jointly||Both spouses under 65||$25,100|
|Married filing jointly||One spouse 65 or older||$26,400|
|Married filing jointly||Both spouses 65 or older||$27,700|
|Married filing separately||All ages||$5|
|Head of household||Under 65||$18,800|
|Head of household||65 or older||$20,450|
|Qualifying widow(er)||Under 65||$25,100|
|Qualifying widow(er)||65 or older||$26,400|
New rules for the 2022 US tax season
The IRS announced on November 10 that the marginal tax rate for the federal income tax in 2022 will remain unchanged, but to account for inflation, the income range corresponding to each tax rate will be increased, and the maximum credit amount will also be increased.
In addition, the IRS released adjustments for the 2022 tax year , which revised more than 60 individual tax filing rules, including:
- The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly has been raised to $25,900, an increase of $800 ;
- Singles and couples file a tax return of $12,950, an increase of $400 ;
- The head of household was $19,400, an increase of $600 .
US tax refund query
The latest IRS reminder is that the IRS official website Where’s My Refund or the IRS2Go App is the most convenient way to inquire about the federal tax refund, while using E-file electronic tax return and choosing Direct Deposit to directly deposit into the account is the safest and fastest way to receive tax refund.
Whether it’s federal or state tax, it’s more refundable than state tax. But for those withholding more than the taxable amount, getting a refund from the IRS and the state tax bureau is like a bonus at the end of the year, like a windfall!
1. IRS official website query
You can use the IRS tracking system ( https://www.irs.gov/refunds ) to check the status of your tax refund after filing your annual tax return, 24 hours after E-File , or 4 weeks after mailing your tax return .
IRS official website tax refund query steps
Step 1: Open the official website www.irs.gov/refunds and click “Check My Refund Status” in the picture below
Step 2: Prepare the information, fill it in in turn, and click “Submit” after filling in
- SSN or ITIN registered for tax return
- tax return status
- Tax refund amount on tax return
Step 3: Result query
As long as the information filled in is correct, the result will be displayed as follows:
- Return Received: The tax form has been received
- Return is still being processed: The tax form is still being approved
- Refund Approved: Tax refund has been approved
- Refund Sent: Tax refund has been sent
State Tax Refund and Processing Times
|State||E-FILED Return, Average Refund Processing Time||PAPER Filed Return, Average Refund Processing Time||State Refund Checker|
|Arizona (AZ)||Within 10 days of filing||Up to 12 weeks||AZ Check Refund Status|
|California (CA)||Up to 2 weeks||10 – 12 weeks||CA Check Your Refund|
|Georgia (GA)||30-45 business days||Up to 6 weeks||GA WMR Site|
|Illinois (IL)||2-3 weeks||6 to 8 weeks||IL Refund Checker|
|Louisiana (LA)||Up to 60 days||12 to 14 weeks||LA Refund Status|
|Ohio (OH)||Within 1 week||6 to 8 weeks||OH Check My Refund|
|Kentucky (KY)||2-3 weeks||8 to 12 weeks||KY Refund Checker|
|Maryland (MD)||Within 1 week||~ 30 days to process||MD Refund Checker|
|Michigan (MI)||14 days||6 to 8 weeks||Michigan Taxes|
|New Jersey (NJ)||4+ weeks||12+ weeks||NJ Refund Status Service|
|New York (NY)||Up to 3 weeks||Up to 6 weeks||NYC Refund Checker|
|North Carolina (NC)||Up to 8 weeks||Up to 12 weeks||NC Where is My Refund|
|Pennsylvania (PA)||Up to 4 weeks||8-10 weeks||PA WMR Site|
|Utah (UT)||7 to 21 days||Up to 90 days||UT Refund Checker|
|Virginia (VA)||Up to 4 weeks||Up to 8 weeks||VA Refund Checker|
|Wisconsin (WI)||Up to 4 weeks||Up to 12 weeks||WI Refund 123|