When Is the Earliest I Can File Taxes?

Quick Answer

The IRS sets a date each year when it begins accepting tax returns. This year, it’s January 23. Although you have to wait for the IRS to kick off tax season to submit your return, you can start working on your tax return as soon as you have the forms and information you need ready to go.

Man sitting at his kitchen table next to a large window filing taxes

You probably know it's not a good idea to file your taxes late, but you may be surprised to learn the IRS doesn't want your taxes too early, either. The IRS sets an official date to begin accepting tax returns every year. This year, that date is January 23. Here's what to know about getting a jump on your 2022 taxes.

When Can You Start Filing Taxes in 2023?

In 2023, you can start filing tax returns on January 23. Many filers wait until February to file, since January 31 is the deadline for businesses to issue 1099 forms for payments to independent contractors, interest, rent, royalties, dividends, retirement distributions and more. The IRS recommends waiting until key documents like 1099s are received before filing to ensure that your tax return is accurate and complete when you submit it.

If you don't expect to receive 1099s for any miscellaneous income and you're otherwise ready to file, you can do so now.

When Are Taxes Due?

The official deadline for filing your 2022 tax return and paying any taxes due is April 18, 2023. You can file for an automatic extension using form 4868. An extension moves your filing deadline to October 16, 2023.

Filing for an extension does not extend your deadline to pay any taxes owed. You are required to estimate your unpaid taxes and submit payment with your request for an extension to avoid penalties and interest.

What's the Earliest You Can Get a Tax Refund?

Of course, the earlier you file, the earlier you'll receive your tax refund (if you're due one). E-filing your return may help speed up your refund. The IRS advises taxpayers to wait 36 hours for their e-filed return information to appear in the Where's My Refund? system and three weeks for a refund to be issued. Several factors can delay your refund, including:

  • Your tax return requires a correction or additional review
  • Your return is missing information
  • You mailed in your tax return instead of filing electronically
  • The IRS suspects identity theft
  • The IRS is experiencing delays

You can track your refund using the Where's My Refund? online tool or the IRS2Go mobile app. Contact the IRS if it's been more than 21 days since you e-filed your return or more than six months since you mailed in your return.

The Bottom Line

While the IRS announces the date you can begin filing your taxes in January, you can start preparing your tax return as soon as you have the information you need. Make sure you have your W-2, 1099s and all the key documents and information you need to file your return accurately. An error or discrepancy may trigger an inquiry from the IRS and/or require you to file an amended return. Either one will prolong your tax-filing experience and delay your refund.