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IRS Sets January 23 Filing Season Start Date

Posted on Jan. 13, 2023

The IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns for 2022 on Monday, January 23.

In a January 12 release (IR-2023-5), the IRS said it has taken steps to improve taxpayer service this year, including hiring more than 5,000 new telephone assisters and adding more in-person staff to help taxpayers. More than 168 million individual income tax returns are expected to be filed this year, it said.

Acting IRS Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell said this will be the first filing season during which the nation will benefit from the agency’s $80 billion funding infusion from the Inflation Reduction Act (P.L. 117-169), which earmarked $3.2 billion for taxpayer services.

But Republicans, who recently gained control of the House, have vowed to repeal the IRS’s new funding. The House on January 9 passed the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act (H.R. 23), which would reduce spending by $71.5 billion by clawing back most of the $80 billion funding increase. The bill doesn’t have enough votes to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and President Biden has said he would veto it.

The past three filing seasons were affected “dramatically” by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the IRS.

“While much work remains after several difficult years, we expect people to experience improvements this tax season,” O’Donnell said, attributing the improvements to the new hires and other additional resources.

“That’s just the start as we work to add new long-term transformation efforts that will make things even smoother in future years. We are very excited to begin to deliver what taxpayers want and our employees know we could do with this funding,” O’Donnell said.

Heading into the 2023 filing season, the IRS will start in a better place than it has been in for the past two years, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins said in her annual report to Congress, released January 11. Still, a backlog of 10 million unprocessed returns and 5.1 million accounts management cases will be carried over into the 2023 filing season, according to the report.

Cautious Optimism

Peter Mills of the American Institute of CPAs said his organization is encouraged that the IRS is continuing to take measures to reduce the backlog to pre-pandemic levels and elevate service levels. But the IRS needs to be “vigilant on both fronts,” he said.

“All indications are service levels will improve during the 2023 filing season. However, due to previous years’ challenges, AICPA remains concerned,” Mills said.

Mills suggested that taxpayers consider filing electronically to minimize the processing time for their returns, and he said the AICPA is still urging the IRS to improve service levels and hasten modernization to reduce the tax return backlog. “Adequate staffing, training, and IT infrastructure will be critical to these efforts,” he added.

Megan Killian of the National Association of Enrolled Agents said her organization is “cautiously optimistic this filing season will go smoother because there aren’t as many legislative and COVID-related complications as there have been over the past couple years, and the IRS is making significant investments in staffing.”

However, Killian said significant tax practitioner service issues remain that, if unresolved, will continue to affect practitioners’ ability to provide timely service to taxpayers.   

The filing deadline for submitting 2022 tax returns or extensions to file and pay taxes owed is Tuesday, April 18, for most taxpayers. The IRS announced January 10 (IR-2023-3) that victims of the recent storms in California will have an extended filing deadline of May 15.

Subject Areas / Tax Topics
Magazine Citation
Tax Notes Federal, Jan. 16, 2023, p. 425
178 Tax Notes Federal 425 (Jan. 16, 2023)
Institutional Authors
Tax Analysts
Tax Analysts Document Number
DOC 2023-971
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