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Due to tax changes brought on by the most recent round of stimulus payments, the IRS announced that it won’t accept returns until February 12th. The IRS is using this extra time to test their systems to ensure this tax season goes as smoothly as possible in order to speed up taxpayer refunds. So what does this all mean for you?

Even though you can’t file before the 12th, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare your return. Many tax software programs and professionals will allow you to get your return set up despite not being able to file it before the start of this tax season.

The obvious advantage of filing as early as possible remains the same, get your return back fast. The IRS expects the majority of taxpayers to receive their refunds within three weeks of filing if they file electronically and have direct deposit set up. In addition to receiving your refund sooner, you could also receive the money you’re owed from both rounds of stimulus payment if you didn’t receive it initially. This is thanks to the Recovery Rebate Credit which once claimed will allow you to receive the missing funds.

Lastly, filing early helps ensure no one fraudulently claims your money. Doing this dramatically reduces the chances of someone filing taxes under your name. Save yourself from a potential problem with the IRS and file your taxes as soon as you can.

Whether you decide to file your taxes early or not this year, keep in mind that the IRS has not extended its filing deadline. The deadline is still April 15th.

Update: As of 03/17/2021 The IRS announced that the individual tax deadline has been extended to May 17th.