When will the IRS accept 2024 returns? Here's when you can start filing your taxes.


At the start of each year, the IRS announces when taxpayers can start filing their annual returns — an eagerly awaited date given that many workers will receive their tax refunds just weeks later. 

The IRS said Monday that it is opening the tax filing season on January 29, which means that taxpayers will have between that date and April 15 to file their returns. People who need extra time can still request an extension, which gives them until mid-October to file. 

Taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts have until April 17 to file their taxes because of those states' Patriot Day and Emancipation Day holidays. People living in federally declared disaster areas may also have more time to file.

About 128.7 million individual tax returns are likely to be filed this season, the IRS said on Monday. 

How early can I file my tax return?

The IRS said it will start accepting and processing tax returns on Monday, January 29. 

However, it added that people can start working on their taxes before that, either with a tax professional or software company. Likewise, it will make the IRS Free File program available for tax prep starting on January 12, with participating software companies accepting completed tax returns and holding them until they can be filed on January 29.

When will I get my tax refund?

Most taxpayers get their refunds within 21 days, which means that people who file their taxes on January 29 — the earliest available day to file a return — should get their payments by February 19. 

However, that isn't guaranteed, and the IRS cautions that some returns may take more time to review, extending the period beyond 21 days. The IRS said that the best way to check the status of your refund is to visit Where's My Refund? on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go app. 

However, the quick turnaround on getting a refund applies to people who file electronically. Paper returns can take much longer for the IRS to process, and the tax agency has urged people to e-file.

"To avoid delays in processing, people should avoid filing paper returns whenever possible," the tax agency said on Monday.

When can you start tracking your refund?

You'll be able to track your refund on the Where's My Refund page or IRS2Go app 24 hours after your return was filed electronically.

To use either tool, you'll have to provide a few basic pieces of information: Your Social Security number, filing status (such as single or married filing jointly) plus your exact refund amount.  

The IRS on Monday said that it will be updating its Where's My Refund tool to provide more detailed information to taxpayers. Previously, the site typically displayed a "generic message stating that their returns are still being processed and to check back later," the agency said.

The updates will provide taxpayers with more details, such as whether the IRS needs them to respond to a letter asking for more information, the agency added.  

Is the IRS offering its own tax filing service this year?

Yes, the IRS is introducing its own filing service this year, called IRS Direct File. It will first be rolled out in phases, but the agency expects it to be widely available in mid-March to taxpayers in 13 participating states. Those states are:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York 
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Tax season dates

Here are the important dates for the 2024 tax season.

  • January 12: IRS Free File opens
  • January 16: Due date for 2023 fourth quarter estimated tax payments
  • January 29: Filing season start date for individual tax returns
  • April 15: Due date of filing a tax return or to request an extension for most of the nation
  • April 17: Due date for Maine and Massachusetts
  • October 15: Due date for extension filers

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