When Will The IRS Start Processing Electronic Returns

The Role of Tax Software and Professionals

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a cyclical schedule for processing tax returns, with the start of the tax season typically kicking off when they begin accepting and processing electronic tax returns. As we approach the tax season of 2024, understanding the IRS’s schedule is crucial for taxpayers who are preparing to file their returns. In this article, we’ll explore when the IRS is expected to start processing electronic returns in 2024 and what you need to know to prepare for the upcoming tax season.

Understanding the IRS Tax Processing Schedule

Each year, the IRS sets a date to begin processing electronic tax returns. This date usually falls towards the end of January or early February. However, this can vary based on factors such as changes in tax laws, government funding, and updates to processing systems.

For the 2024 tax season, the official start date has not been announced at the time of writing. Taxpayers are advised to check the IRS website or consult with tax professionals for the most current information.

Why the Start Date Matters

The start date for processing electronic returns is important for several reasons:

  • Refunds: Taxpayers who file early and electronically with direct deposit can expect to receive their refunds sooner.
  • Planning: Knowing the start date helps taxpayers and tax professionals plan for the tax season, ensuring that all necessary documents are prepared ahead of time.
  • Avoiding Delays: Filing electronically right when the IRS starts processing can help avoid the backlogs that can occur later in the tax season.

IRS Processing Electronic Returns What to Expect in

IRS Processing Electronic Returns: What to Expect in 2024

While the IRS has not confirmed the exact date for 2024, based on historical patterns, taxpayers can anticipate that electronic processing will begin towards the end of January or the beginning of February.

The Benefits of Electronic Filing

Electronic filing (e-filing) offers several advantages over paper filing:

  • Faster Processing: E-filing is the quickest way to submit your tax return to the IRS, which means faster processing and refunds.
  • Accuracy: Electronic returns have a lower error rate compared to paper returns, reducing the chances of processing delays.
  • Confirmation: When you e-file, you receive an electronic acknowledgement that your return has been received by the IRS.

Preparing for Electronic Filing

To ensure a smooth filing experience, it’s essential to prepare in advance. Here are some steps to take as you get ready to file your tax return electronically:

Gather Your Documents

Collect all necessary tax documents, including W-2s, 1099s, receipts for deductions, and any other relevant financial information.

Choose a Filing Method

Determine whether you will file using tax preparation software, hire a tax professional, or use Free File provided by the IRS if you qualify.

Check for Updates to Tax Laws

Stay informed about any changes to tax laws that may affect your return. The IRS website is a valuable resource for the latest tax information.

Create an IRS Online Account

Consider creating an online account with the IRS. This can help you track your return and refund, view your balance, and access other tax-related services.

When Will The IRS Start Processing Electronic Returns

The Role of Tax Software and Professionals

Taxpayers have the option to use tax software or hire tax professionals to assist with electronic filing. Both options can provide guidance on tax laws, help maximize deductions and credits, and ensure that your return is accurate and complete.

Tax Software

Tax preparation software is designed to simplify the filing process. It can guide you through each step, perform calculations, and check for errors. Some software also offers the option to file state returns simultaneously.

Tax Professionals

For more complex tax situations or if you prefer personal assistance, a tax professional can be invaluable. They can provide tailored advice, answer questions, and handle the electronic filing on your behalf.

What If You File Before the IRS Start Date?

If you submit your electronic tax return before the IRS officially begins processing, your return will be held in a queue. It will be processed in the order it was received once the IRS starts its electronic processing operations.

Impact on Refunds

Filing early does not necessarily mean you’ll receive your refund before the official start date. However, it can put you at the front of the line for processing, potentially resulting in an earlier refund.

Common Questions About IRS Processing Times

Common Questions About IRS Processing Times

How Long Does It Take to Get a Refund?

The IRS typically issues refunds within 21 days for electronic returns with direct deposit, assuming there are no issues with the return. Paper returns can take significantly longer.

Can You Track Your Return and Refund?

Yes, the IRS provides a “Where’s My Refund?” tool on their website and mobile app, IRS2Go, which allows you to check the status of your refund.

What Causes Delays in Processing?

Delays can occur due to errors on the return, incomplete information, or if the return requires further review. Filing electronically and ensuring accuracy can help avoid these delays.


The 2024 tax filing season has commenced with the IRS processing federal tax returns, anticipating a decline in individual filings compared to the previous year. Despite this, refunds are expected to exceed last year’s, providing a potential boost to retail demand. With refunds already surpassing $191 billion by early April, retailers are hopeful for increased consumer spending, especially considering the earlier release of refunds this year. Changes in tax laws and refund distribution timing are likely to influence consumer spending patterns, with a potential $4 to $6 billion shift from February to March sales. Overall, while the first quarter saw modest growth in retail sales, tax refunds are anticipated to stabilize demand as we move into the second quarter.



While we await the official announcement for when the IRS will start processing electronic returns in 2024, taxpayers should begin preparations early. Being proactive and staying informed will help ensure a seamless filing process and a timely refund.

Remember to visit the IRS website or consult with a tax professional for the most up-to-date information and guidance as the tax season approaches. By planning ahead and taking advantage of electronic filing, you can navigate the tax season with confidence.

In conclusion, the IRS’s schedule for processing electronic returns is a key component of the tax season timeline. By understanding when this process begins and preparing accordingly, taxpayers can take steps to ensure their returns are filed efficiently and accurately, paving the way for a smooth tax experience in 2024. For further inquiries or legal assistance, feel free to contact us.

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