2016 Filing Season opens January 19

The IRS will start accepting 2015 individual income tax returns on January 19, 2016 (IR-2015-139). The starting date is the same for both paper and electronically-filed returns. Paper returns filed before January 19 will not be processed until January 19. The filing deadline for 2015 returns is Monday April 18, 2016, rather than the traditional April 15. The deadline is April 19 in Maine and Massachusetts, because of Patriots Day. The IRS noted that many tax software companies will begin accepting returns earlier in January and will submit the returns when the IRS starts processing them.

Because Congress was not to pass tax legislation until late December 2015, the IRS had not been certain when it would begin the 2016 filing season for 2015 returns. However, despite the tax extenders legislation signed into law on December 18, the IRS announced that it did not foresee any delays. The January 19 date is the normal date for the opening of the filing season for Form 1040.

IRS continues to stress that electronic filing and direct deposit are the fastest and most secure procedures. The IRS estimated that it will issue 90 percent of refunds in 21 days or less.