File your taxes on time. Here’s what you need to know about your refund

  • By Michael Martin and Andee Tagle/NPR

Patrick Sison/AP

FILE – A W-4 form on Feb. 5, 2020 in New York. Monday is Tax Day, the federal deadline for personal income tax filing and payments. The IRS will receive tens of millions of filings electronically and through paper forms. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)

The deadline for most people to file their federal taxes this year is Monday, April 18, 2022, instead of the usual April 15 deadline. It’s because of the Emancipation Day holiday in DC on Friday.

This tax season has been a little different: pandemic-related expenses, stimulus checks, changes to the child tax credit, and new deduction rules could impact your tax refund.

If you think you will receive a smaller repay this year as the last, you are not alone. A recent Forbes survey found that 50% of taxpayers expect smaller refunds, and more than two-thirds of Americans with household incomes below $50,000 do not expect a refund this year or don’t know if they’ll get one.

But don’t worry, says CPA Kemberley Washington of Forbes Advisor. “With so many changes, people really didn’t know what to expect,” Washington says, particularly when it comes to new factors like pandemic stimulus checks or student loan freezes. “But I think once they file a tax return, they’ll see for most people that it’s going to be fine,” she says.

Washington says most people can actually expect returns similar to what they received last year and the IRS reported that as of April 1, the average refund was $3,304 this year. , an increase of $350 over last year’s average.

Whatever your financial situation, Washington says it’s a good idea to stay informed about the changes this year — and the resources available to help you with them before the April 18 deadline.

Create an online account with the IRS – even if you are not required to file this year

Washington says simply creating an online account with the IRS is a powerful tool currently underutilized by taxpayers. Many people think they need to contact the IRS, she says, when most of the time the information is already available on this online portal.

Bring your photo ID to register. Once logged in, you will have access to a number of features, including sending payments, accessing your historical tax information, and checking your refund status.

Here is the full list of features you will get when you open an IRS account online:

  • 5 years of account history
  • Account status, including total amount due
  • Balance owing broken down by tax year and type
  • Payment options, including the ability to pay by bank account, credit card or money order
  • Create or edit a payment plan
  • Recent payments made to your account
  • Summary of your most recent tax return
  • Any alert associated with your account

What you need to know about the child tax credit

This online account will also make it easier for eligible parents to claim remaining child tax credit funds. To calculate the remaining funds, you first need to know how much you have already received in 2021.

Washington says that if you qualify for the Child Tax Credit, you’ll likely qualify for additional funds this year because last year’s payments were only 50%.

Another reason to set up your IRS online portal: you can see what you received in 2021. While the IRS sent letters to families who received child tax credits in 2021, the agency has later reported that many of them were inaccurate. Make sure the 2021 numbers you report are accurate to avoid any processing issues.

You might still be eligible for a pandemic stimulus check

If you didn’t receive the third-round $1,400 stimulus payment from the federal government last year, you may be eligible to receive the recovery tax credit after you file your tax return. Those who are not required to file a tax return are still eligible, so be sure to take advantage of these funds.

Tips and Tools for Ranking and Tracking

Once you’re ready to deposit, Washington recommends some readily available tools to deposit for free and track your refund:

  • Free online filing is available for some: If your adjusted household income is less than $73,000, you don’t have to pay to file with the IRS. Access the IRS Free File to get started.
  • Use “Where’s my refund?” : To check the status of your refund, use the Where’s My Refund tool available online or through the IRS2Go mobile app.
  • Call early: If you’ve used all of your online tools and still need to speak to someone at the IRS, Washington says you’ll have a better chance of making contact if you call early in the morning.
  • Request a PIN: If you’re concerned about fraud or identity theft, you can request a six-digit IRS PIN for an extra layer of protection. The same PIN will be kept every year, so make sure it’s the one you’ll remember!

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