Should I File My 2021 Tax Return (in 2022) If I Am Still Waiting for 2020 Return to be Processed by the IRS?

Due to the significant backlog in processing of 2020 tax returns, filed in 2021, many are wondering if they can go ahead and file their 2021 return in the coming weeks or if they need to wait.

As the IRS announced, the 2021-22 tax season will start from January 24th, the date when they will accept and start processing 2021 tax year returns.

Fortunately the IRS has confirmed in a recent notice that people can still file their 2021 returns, even if they are awaiting the finalizing of their 2020 return. Over 8 million returns from prior years are still pending processing by the IRS as of January 1st, 2022.

Those filing their 2021 return electronically, while waiting for their 2020 return to be processed, should enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s AGI.

Missed the tax deadline? Don’t worry. TurboTax can help to get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

IRS Guidance on filing 2021 returns with 2020 still pending
IRS Guidance on filing 2021 returns with 2020 still pending

The IRS will continue processing 2020 returns in a priority manner and are continuing to work through pandemic and staffing related impacts, however they have already stated that they expect to see similar processing delays in 2021 due to similar reasons.

While the average refund is supposed to take 21 days to be paid, the IRS has signaled that returns with discrepancies, required manual verification of details or those mailed in (paper filing) could take several months to get processed.

Note that if your 2020 return was delayed for additional verification of credits claimed or for fraud, you should expect that your 2021 may be held for some similar returns – especially if it is still being processed by the IRS.

 Visit Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return on the IRS website for more details.

Filing an accurate return as early as possible however is the best way to get your refund in line with the estimated IRS processing schedule.

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