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Saturday March 2, 2024

Washington News

Washington Hotline

IRS Announces Starting Date for Filing 2023 Returns

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the filing season will officially open on January 29, 2024. At that time, it will start accepting and processing 2023 tax returns. The IRS expects taxpayers will file approximately 129 million individual returns.

With funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS claims it will offer improved taxpayer service this year. IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel stated, "As our transformation efforts take hold, taxpayers will continue to see marked improvement in IRS operations in the upcoming filing season. IRS employees are working hard to make sure that new funding is used to help taxpayers by making the process of preparing and filing taxes easier."

The IRS has enhanced a number of resources for taxpayers. There will be an expansion of the callback feature. This is intended to reduce the phone wait time to speak with an IRS representative. There are several changes on IRS.gov, such as an improved "Where's My Refund?" tool.

The IRS also plans to launch the pilot of Direct File. The Direct File initial pilot is expected to be available in states that do not require payment of state income taxes. It also will be limited to simple tax situations.

A potential issue is whether Congress will make last–minute changes to the child tax credit or other provisions. Bridget Roberts is the leader of the IRS Direct File program. At a January 10 tax conference, she noted, "We are aware that it is out there. We are waiting to see." Roberts continued that the impact of Congress on the Direct File program "will depend on the scope of the changes and how sweeping those changes might be."

The IRS Direct File team believes it will be able to manage any last–minute changes. Nina Olson is a representative of the Center for Taxpayer Rights and a former National Taxpayer Advocate. She noted that there have been filing seasons that required last-minute changes. She stated, "But they get it done. And it is amazing to watch."

The Direct File project has been created in cooperation with Code for America (COA). Gabriel Zucker of COA believes the Direct File team could manage changes. The Code for America organization is also working on state tax integration for the pilot program. Zucker stated the IRS and partners have "done a lot of incredible work under a lot of pressure, very quickly."

Editor's Note: It is logical for the Direct File pilot program to focus on basic tax returns and avoid the issue of state taxes by only serving states without an income tax. Based upon your editor's three decades of experience in publishing charitable tax software, it is best to start small and then move forward. Given the scope and complexity of the U.S. tax system, a full-fledged system with state return integration is still two to five years in the future.

Published January 12, 2024
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