By Kara Brandeisky
December 30, 2014

This year, you can file your tax return as early as January 20, the Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday. That’s the day the government will begin accepting electronic returns and begin processing any paper returns it has received. The filing deadline for federal taxes is Wednesday, April 15.

The IRS will not delay the start of the tax filing season, even though Congress extended 50 tax breaks on December 19. Historically, similar last-second legislative changes have forced the IRS to postpone the beginning of tax filing season, the Associated Press reports. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says that’s not necessary this year.

“We have reviewed the late tax law changes and determined there was nothing preventing us from continuing our updating and testing of our systems,” Koskinen said in a statement.

You probably missed out on most of the last-minute tax breaks Congress approved, which were only effective for the 2014 year. But before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, you may still be able to get a tax break on your boat, tuition, commuting costs, and charitable contributions from your IRA. (See our last-minute tax tips for other moves you must make by year end.)

Keep in mind: Even if you want to file on January 20, you might not be ready. Employers have until the end of January to mail out W-2s to employees.

Still, if you can get your paperwork sooner, there are some big benefits to filing as early as possible. First, the IRS tries to get you your refund three weeks after receiving your return. Second, filing early reduces the risk of identity theft, wherein a criminal files a fraudulent tax return in your name and collects your refund.

Need more tax help? Check Money 101 and Ask the Expert:

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