When Can File Your Taxes?


The Balance / Bailey Mariner

Key Takeaways

  • Your employer has until Jan. 31, 2023, to send you your W-2 form reporting your 2022 earnings. Most 1099 forms must be sent to independent contractors by this date as well.
  • The IRS began processing returns on Jan. 23, 2023.
  • The deadline to file your tax return this year is April 18, 2023.
  • You can make 2022 IRA contributions until April 18, 2023.

Tax professionals are peppered with questions about when people can file their tax returns and how soon they can receive a tax refund every year as the calendar flips over to January. The answers depend on a few factors, such as when you receive important tax documents, and filing early doesn't necessarily mean that you'll receive your tax refund any sooner.  

When Can You File Your Tax Return?

The IRS usually begins accepting tax returns at the end of January every year. For the 2023 tax filing season, the IRS began processing 2022 tax returns on Jan. 23, 2022. But remember: You'll need all the necessary paperwork and documents to file—so keep reading.

Collect Your Income Documents

Your employer has until Jan. 31, 2023, to send you your W-2 form reporting your 2022 earnings. Most 1099 forms must be sent to independent contractors by this date as well.


Reach out to your employer and request a copy or a duplicate copy if you haven't received your W-2 form. Your W-2 may also have been posted online, if you and your employer agreed to that method.

You can file IRS Form 4852, a W-2 substitute, if the tax-filing deadline is looming and you still don't have your W-2, but this can be a bit of a headache. You'll have to accurately calculate your earnings and withholding amount based on your final pay stub for the year, so you might want to reach out to a tax professional if you find yourself in this situation.

When Does Tax Filing and Processing Begin?

As soon as you have all the necessary paperwork to begin the process, you can start filing your taxes. The IRS typically starts accepting and processing tax returns during the last week of January. For 2023, that date is Jan. 23.

Most tax professionals and tax software programs, including those with the IRS Free File program, will prepare your tax return immediately if you have all your income documents in order.

The Tax Filing Deadline 

Typically, taxes must be filed by April 15. However, for 2023, you have until April 18, 2022, to file your 2021 income tax returns and pay any tax due.

Those wishing to file their returns later can request a six-month extension from the IRS, pushing the filing deadline back to Oct. 17, 2022, if they're not ready to prepare and file their tax return by April 18 (or April 19).

Typically, the extension end date falls on Oct. 15 each year, but in 2022, that date is a Saturday. To receive the extra time, you must file Form 4868 rather than a tax return by the April date.

When Will You Receive Your Refund? 

The IRS has historically said that it issues refunds in less than 21 days for most returns, but it can take up to six weeks if you mail in a paper return. The IRS advises you to add another estimated 10 days to allow for the postal delivery process if you're requesting a paper check for your refund rather than direct deposit. 

It Can Depend on the Tax Credits You Claim

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, commonly known as the "PATH Act," began delaying some refunds in 2017.

If you're expecting a refund because you claimed the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the refundable portion of the child tax credit, the IRS isn't permitted to issue your refund before mid-February, regardless of when you file your return. The PATH Act provides that the IRS needs time to examine returns claiming these refunds so it can prevent fraud.


You can check the status of your refund and get a more exact date after that time by visiting the IRS "Where's My Refund?" page on its website.

You're still subject to this delay even if your refund is only due in part to the EITC or the child tax credit. The IRS won’t send you one refund for $1,000 and hold the EITC portion of your refund until mid-February if you overpaid $1,000 in taxes and are also entitled to a $1,000 EITC refund for a total of $2,000. Your entire refund will be delayed.

More Tax Planning Tips

Filing and refund dates aren't the only deadlines that taxpayers have to concern themselves with. Certain payments and reporting requirements are sprinkled over the calendar year, and missing any of them could cause a headache. Here are a few other deadlines you may want to keep in mind: 

  • Sole proprietors and independent contractors who aren't subject to tax withholding by an employer should make quarterly estimated payments on January 15, April 15, June 15, and Sept. 15 of each year. The date in January 2023 is actually January 17, and its payment is especially important because it's the last payment for the 2022 tax year.
  • Employees who earn more than $20 in tips in the month of December 2022 should report them to their employers on Form 4070 by Jan. 10, 2023, and every month going forward.
  • You can make 2022 IRA contributions until April 18, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When can you file for an extension on your taxes?

You can file an extension for filing your federal taxes up to the tax due date. Filing for an extension is free and it gives you until Oct. 16 (in 2023) to file your return. Note that this only extends when your tax returns are due. If you owe taxes, your payment is still due on the federal tax filing deadline (typically April 15).

When is the last day you can file your taxes?

The last day to file your taxes is typically April 15 or the next business day if it falls on a weekend (so April 18 in 2023). That means you must electronically file your taxes (or have your tax preparer send them) or mail them so they're postmarked on the due date. If you file for an extension in 2023, you have until Oct. 16.

Updated by Jess Feldman
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles