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Tax season has already started! But what does that mean?

First and foremost, it means that, as of Jan. 29, 2024, the IRS is accepting and processing federal income tax returns for the 2023 tax year.

It also means the race to get your tax return completed and filed on time is underway. Right now, it might seem like you have a long time before “Tax Day” arrives. However, the deadline has a way of creeping up on people.

So start collecting your W-2s, 1099s, and other tax documents now, because you’re going to need them before you know it. The sooner you file your tax return, the sooner you can stop worrying about it.

Related: 8 Free Tax Filing Options for 2024

When Does Tax Season End?

deadline clock

Most people have until April 15, 2024, to file their federal income tax return (April 17 for residents of Maine and Massachusetts). If you need more time, you can request an automatic six-month tax filing extension—which will push your tax return filing deadline to Oct. 15, 2024.

WealthUp Tip: An automatic extension pushes back the date for filing your return, but it doesn’t extend the date for paying taxes. As a result, if you expect to owe taxes when you eventually submit your tax return by the extended deadline, you still must pay the taxes owed by April 15 to avoid interest and penalties.

People impacted by the following natural disasters have until June 17, 2024, to file their 2023 federal tax return:

In addition, victims of the terrorist attacks in Israel that began on Oct. 7, 2023, have until Oct. 7, 2024, to file their return.

Related: 9 Benefits of Filing Taxes Early

State Tax Deadlines

Unless you live in a state with no broad-based income taxes—Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, or Wyoming—you might have to file a state tax return, too. In most cases, your state return will be due on April 15, just like your federal return.

However, a handful of states have a later due date, including Delaware (April 30), Hawaii (April 22), Iowa (April 30), Louisiana (May 15), New Mexico (April 30 if e-filed), Oklahoma (April 20 if e-filed), and Virginia (May 1). Some cities, counties, or municipalities might also require local taxes, so be sure you keep abreast of those rules as well.

When Will You Get Your Tax Refund?

receive tax refund

One reason why people like to file their tax return early is to get their tax refund sooner. If you want to receive your refund faster—typically within 21 days—make sure you file electronically and choose direct deposit. The IRS can process electronic returns and payments much faster than paper returns and checks.

Once you file your return, you can track the status of your tax refund online using the IRS’s Where’s My Refund tool.

Note, however, that the IRS is required by law to delay issuing a refund until at least mid-February if the additional child tax credit (i.e., the refundable portion) or earned income tax credit is claimed on your 2023 tax return. This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with the child tax credit or earned income tax credit. According to the IRS, most of these refunds will be available by Feb. 27, 2024, if the taxpayer signs up for direct deposit and there are no other issues with the return.

Rocky has been covering federal and state tax developments for over 25 years. During that time, he has provided tax information and guidance to millions of tax professionals and ordinary Americans. As Senior Tax Editor for WealthUp from Jan. 2023 to Feb. 2024, Rocky spent most of his time writing and editing online tax content.

Before working for WealthUp, Rocky was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger, where he wrote and edited tax content for Kiplinger.com, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report and The Kiplinger Tax Letter. Prior to his time at Kiplinger, Rocky was a Senior Writer/Analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. In that role, he managed a portfolio of print and digital state income tax research products, led the development of various new print and online products, authored white papers and other special publications, coordinated with authors of a state tax treatise, and acted as media contact for the state income tax group (where he was quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other national media outlets). Before that, Rocky was an Executive Editor at Kleinrock Publishing, which provided tax research products for tax professionals. At Kleinrock, he directed the development, maintenance, and enhancement of all state tax and payroll law publications, including electronic research products, monthly newsletters, and handbooks.

Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.