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E-file start and stop dates for federal returns

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E-file start and stop dates for federal returns

This article will help you determine whether or not you can e-file current federal tax returns for individuals, corporations, partnerships, and other businesses.

When will e-filing for 2019 and 2018 returns reopen?

E-filing for tax year 2019 and 2018 business returns will resume on January 8, 2021.

E-filing for tax year 2019 and 2018 individual returns will resume on February 12, 2021.

When can I e-file 2020 returns?

Return typeIRS opensIntuit opens
BusinessJanuary 8, 2021January 19, 2021
Individual (1040)February 12, 2021Intuit will begin holding returns on January 28, 2021

Frequently asked questions for 2020 Individual e-filing

  • What happens with EITC returns impacted by the PATH Act? Will they be further delayed?  
  • Starting in the first week of March, the IRS anticipates that tax refunds will begin to reach taxpayers who claim EITC and ACTC (PATH Act returns),  file electronically with direct deposit, and do not have issues with their tax returns.
  • When will my clients be able to check on the status of their refunds? 
  • Feb. 22 is the projected date for the IRS.gov Where’s My Refund tool to be updated for those claiming EITC and ACTC, also referred to as PATH Act returns.

Can I e-file prior year business returns?

Yes, you can e-file the currently due tax year and two prior years (after the IRS opens e-file for the current tax season). For example, once the IRS has opened e-filing for tax year 2020 returns, you can also e-file 2019 and 2018 business returns. Extension filings are only available for the currently due tax year.

Can I e-file prior year individual returns?

Yes. You can generally e-file the currently due tax year and two prior years.  Extension filings are only available for the currently due tax year.

What about prior year state returns?

Many states support e-filing the currently due tax year and two prior years, just like the IRS. Exceptions include Rhode Island and Maine. Rhode Island only allows e-filing of current year returns. Maine allows e-filing for two prior years by individual taxpayers, but only supports the current year and one prior year for business returns. Check your state’s website for more details.

The IRS typically shuts down their e-file servers in November and December to prepare for the upcoming tax year. The Intuit Electronic Filing Center will stop accepting e-file transmissions prior to the IRS shutdown to ensure that all e-file submissions are received by the IRS before the shutdown.

After the shutdown, you will no longer be able to e-file tax year 2017 returns nor receive e-file acknowledgements for tax year 2017 or prior returns. Tax year 2018 and 2019 returns can still be e-filed when the IRS re-opens for the tax year 2020 filing season.

IndividualNovember 21, 2020
BusinessDecember 26, 2020

When an e-filed return or extension is rejected, the IRS provides a Transmission Perfection Period, or look back period, to correct the filing and re-transmit it. If the previously rejected filing is accepted by the IRS within the Perfection Period, it will be considered to have been received on the date of the first rejection that occurred within the Period. Extensions for individuals and businesses are typically granted 5 calendar days. Business returns are granted 10 calendar days, while individual returns have a perfection period of 5 days. For more details on the Perfection Period, see Publication 4164. Check your state’s website to verify whether they allow the same Perfection Period as the IRS.

Some states have different perfection periods than the federal return.  See here for important information for Iowa e-filings.

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