CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Tax filing season is officially underway. The Internal Revenue Service began accepting 2021 tax returns on Monday, Jan. 24.

Here’s what you need to know this year to file your taxes.

What’s the deadline this year?

The tax filing deadline for filing your 2021 returns is Monday, April 18, 2022.

They aren’t due on the traditional date of April 15 because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia for everyone except taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts. 

The return date was extended in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is not the case this year.

People who need to file for an extension can do so here. Extension requests also must be made by April 18.

Why there could be delays

Like many employers, the IRS is also having staffing issues.

They’re asking people who can to file electronically (Efile).

The IRS reports paper returns could take several weeks longer this year.

How long will it take to get my money?

According to the IRS, people who Efile usually receive their refund within 3 weeks of the date the IRS receives their return.

People who set up direct deposits are expected to get theirs faster.

If you mail a paper tax return, it can take 6 to 8 weeks to process the return and possibly longer due to staffing issues.

When should I receive my W-2?

W-2’s are due to be mailed no later than Jan. 31. According to the IRS, a 2015 law made it a permanent requirement that employers file copies of their Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statements, and Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration by Jan. 31.

How to file for free

If you made less than $73,000 in 2021, you can use free tax software to electronically file your tax return.

Not all the companies listed on the site cover every state, so make sure to read the fine print.

The IRS also has a section of Free File Fillable Forms here.

How to check your refund status

The IRS has an app and a website to check your refund status.

Updates should be available 24 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after sending a paper return.

Click here to go to the website.

What’s new this year?

By law, the IRS can’t issue refunds for people who are filing with the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February.

If you received Child Tax Credit payments in 2021, you’ll want to wait to file until you receive IRS letter 6419.

According to the IRS, Letter 6419 outlines the total amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments you received in 2021 and the number of qualifying children used to calculate the payments.

See the letter here.

Those who received a third stimulus payment need to wait for a letter from the IRS as well.

Letter 6475 relates to the third stimulus payment and includes how much you received in stimulus money in 2021.

Unemployment benefits will not come with a tax break this year.

Last year there was a temporary tax break for certain people who received unemployment.

This year, jobless benefits received in 2021 will be taxable on the 2021 federal income tax return.