Tax Season Software Deals, Key Tax Dates, IRS Refund Processing and Contact Numbers

Don’t like ’em but got to pay Uncle Sam to stay clean and fund the land we live in. However be smart and realize while we should pay our fair share there are many credits, deductions and tax breaks you should be taking advantage of to lower your taxes or maximize your refund. For these and other tax related information keep reading.

2021-22 Tax Season Trending Topics

Tax Filing Software Providers

Maximize your refund and pay as little as you have to with these recommended top online e-file tax software packages. You can try them all for free and only pay when you actually file the return. Most will get you to the same refund number, but the user experience and post-filing support (if audit issues) are what you pay for with the bigger players.

Tax ProviderSummary
TurboTaxThe most headache-free option, with a very intuitive user interface. From the simplest to the most complex return, TurboTax probably has you covered. Good for small business’ and self employed. It also has some great post filing support and a 100% accuracy guarantee, where they pay any IRS or state penalty (or interest) because of an error they made.
H&R BlockH&R Block’s offers an in-person and online do-it-yourself tax preparation service with well designed filing software and over 12,000 retail offices to provide back-up options and audit support. Its a large national brand and if you like the ability to get a high level of support (online and in person) then block is a good option.
TaxACTProvider of affordable digital tax preparation solutions for individuals, business owners and tax professionals. The software has been designed by in-house programmers and tax accountant. Probably one of the cheapest online tax filing options out there.
eFileBasic and no-frill tax filing software for a fraction of the cost of the larger providers. If your return is simple and you just want a simple electronic filing option then this is the tax filing package for you
Liberty eSmartLiberty (eSmart) Tax provides an exceptional online tax preparation solution at an affordable value. There are over 3,000 Liberty Tax Service locations throughout the United States and Canada
Tax Filing Providers

See a more detailed review of tax software providers.

FREE Filing Tax Options

You can use the IRS Free e-Filing (online tax software filing) if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is below a certain threshold ($73,000 currently). This free filing service is partnership between the IRS and major tax software providers. Note that participating tax software companies can set lower or higher AGI limits for using free file through their online service (see details in this article).

Most tax software provides guidance through the filing process via asking simple questions and putting your answers on the right forms. If does all the math and checks for accuracy. You normally get your refund within 21 days. The following well-known companies (always go with established companies for your taxes!) support the IRS free file e-filing option, but if you want more sophisticated help or have a higher AGI then you may have to pay for filing the return, due to the extra guidance/forms you receive.

TurboTax Free Edition: Turbo tax is the most used tax software and in the years that I have used it, I found it very easy to use thanks to it’s excellent step-by-step program to guide you through filling in your tax return. Like any commercial package though, they will try to “up-sell ” you, so make sure you check the options you really need. Overall, this is the best option for most online tax filers in my opinion.

The IRS also offers free online tax filing support and guidance via the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers. This service is offered free of charge for those who make less than certain annual adjusted income limits (see IRS site for details). The VITA program is staffed by IRS-certified volunteers. In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

While filing your tax returns for free is a great option for those with lower incomes and simpler tax situations, what you are really paying the tax software providers is for the online assistance guiding you through the process for figuring your taxes and getting the largest refund possible. You also get audit support if any issues are found with your filing – for an extra fee off course if not due to the tax software provider calculations. Given the premium advice and tips you can get from most tax software, the cost of the additional options is more than offset by the larger refund you will likely get.

Tax Season Filing Deadlines

2022 Tax Filing Deadlines
Tax Related Activity
Jan 3rdFirst day to file a federal tax return, though the IRS generally will not accept e-file and free file returns until the date below. Even paper based filings won't be processed till later in the month
Jan 24thIRS E-file to go live allowing submission, acceptance and processing of electronic tax returns for the vast majority of tax filers. Paper tax returns will begin processing later in mid-February as IRS system updates continue (IRS recommends e-filing for faster refunds).
Feb 1st1099-G forms for reporting Unemployment Compensation and Taxes paid to you for the prior calendar year. Contact your state UI agency if not received by this date.
Feb 1stDate by which you should have received a W-2 from employers you worked for during the tax year. If not, contact their HR/Payroll department to resend tax documents
Feb 1stDeadline for 1099 statements (factors in your AGI income) that report non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends and distributions from a retirement plan. This date is also the deadline for self-employed individuals to file and pay in full their fourth-quarter estimated tax payment
Feb 1stFinancial institutions (e.g Vanguard, Fidelity) must mail out 1099-B, 1099-S and 1099-MISC forms by this date. See what these forms are and if you will need one for your return
March 15S Corporation and Partnership tax returns due
April 18*Tax Day* Last day for filing federal and state income tax returns and extension requests. Due to Emancipation Day holiday in DC, the due date shifted from April 15th to Monday, April 18, 2022, for most taxpayers. Taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19, 2022, to file their returns due to the Patriots’ Day holiday

Note - This due date could be extended if significant backlog or new tax changes, as was the cast in 2021 (I will update if that happens).
April 18Deadline for filing state income tax returns (for most states) and extension requests. Last day to make a contribution to a Traditional or Roth IRA, Health Savings Account (HSA), SEP-IRA or 401(k)
April 18FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) forms due for taxpayers who have signature authority over $10,000 in total in foreign bank accounts in the prior year. Laws enacted last year change the standard FBAR due date to "tax day" (vs June 30th as in years past). No extensions are allowed and forms must be filed electronically.
September 15U.S. citizens or resident aliens living abroad must file tax returns and pay any taxes due by this date (or file for a four-month extension)
October 17Filing approved extended federal, state and S-Corp/Partnership income tax returns Note: you still need to file for an extension request by April 15th

See this article for more information and comments.

Tax Brackets and Rates

Below are the tax tables for the 2021 tax year (used for filings in 2022). See this article for more on the prior and current year federal tax brackets.

2021 Federal Taxable Income IRS Tax Brackets and Rates

Tax RateSingle FilersMarried Filing Jointly + SSMarried, filing separatelyHead of Household
10%Up to $9,950Up to $19,900Up to $9,950Up to $14,200
12%$9,951 to $40,525$19,901 to $81,050$9,951 to $40,525$14,201 to $54,200
22%$40,526 to $86,375$81,051 to $172,750$40,526 to $86,375$54,201 to $86,350
24%$86,376 to $164,925$172,751 to $329,850$86,376 to $164,925$86,351 to $164,900
32%$164,926 to $209,425$329,851 to $418,850$164,926 to $209,425$164,901 to $209,400
35%$209,426 to $523,600$418,851 to $628,300$209,426 to $314,150$209,401 to $523,600
37%Over $523,600Over $628,300Over $314,150Over $523,600
Standard Deduction$12,550$25,100$12,550$18,800

Estimated IRS Refund Schedule

You can see more in this article which has several thousand comments on people having refund issues due to some of these reasons.

Tax Return Accepted by IRS
(Status = Return Received)
If IRS Processing Completed By
(Status = Refund Approved)
Estimated Refund Payment Date via Direct Deposit (Status = Refund Sent)Estimated Refund Payment Date via Paper Check
January 24th, 2022January 31, 2022February 7 2022February 19, 2022
February 1, 2022February 8, 2022February 11, 2022February 22, 2022
February 7, 2022February 14, 2022February 18, 2022February 28, 2022
February 14, 2022February 22, 2022February 25, 2022March 7, 2022
February 21, 2022February 28, 2022March 4, 2022March 14, 2022
February 28, 2022March 7, 2022March 11, 2022March 21, 2022
March 7, 2022March 14, 2022March 18, 2022March 28, 2022
March 14, 2022March 21, 2022March 25, 2022April 4, 2022
March 21, 2022March 28, 2022April 1, 2022April 11, 2022
March 28, 2022April 4, 2022April 8, 2022April 18, 2022
April 4, 2022April 11, 2022April 15, 2022April 25, 2022
April 11, 2022April 18, 2022April 22, 2022May 2, 2022
April 18, 2022April 25, 2022April 29, 2022May 9, 2022
April 25, 2022May 2, 2022May 6, 2022May 16, 2022
May 2, 2022May 9, 2022May 13, 2022May 23, 2022
May 9, 2022May 16, 2022May 20, 2022May 30, 2022
May 16, 2022May 23, 2022May 27, 2022June 6, 2022
May 23, 2022May 30, 2022June 3, 2022June 13, 2022
May 30, 2022June 6, 2022June 10, 2022June 20, 2022
June 6, 2022June 13, 2022June 17, 2022June 27, 2022
June 13, 2022June 20, 2022June 24, 2022July 4, 2022
June 20, 2022June 27, 2022July 1, 2022July 11, 2022
June 27, 2022July 4, 2022July 8, 2022July 18, 2022
July 4, 2022July 11, 2022July 15, 2022July 25, 2022
July 11, 2022July 18, 2022July 22, 2022August 1, 2022
July 18, 2022July 25, 2022July 29, 2022August 8, 2022
July 25, 2022August 1, 2022August 5, 2022August 15, 2022
August 1, 2022August 8, 2022August 12, 2022August 22, 2022
August 8, 2022August 15, 2022August 19, 2022August 29, 2022
August 15, 2022August 22, 2022August 26, 2022September 5, 2022
August 22, 2022August 29, 2022September 2, 2022September 12, 2022
August 29, 2022September 5, 2022September 9, 2022September 19, 2022
September 5, 2022September 12, 2022September 16, 2022September 26, 2022
September 12, 2022September 19, 2022September 23, 2022October 3, 2022
September 19, 2022September 26, 2022September 30, 2022October 10, 2022
September 26, 2022October 3, 2022October 7, 2022October 17, 2022
October 3, 2022October 10, 2022October 14, 2022October 24, 2022
October 10, 2022October 17, 2022October 21, 2022October 31, 2022
October 17, 2022October 24, 2022October 28, 2022November 7, 2022
October 24, 2022October 31, 2022November 4, 2022November 14, 2022
October 31, 2022November 7, 2022November 11, 2022November 21, 2022
November 7, 2022November 14, 2022November 18, 2022November 28, 2022
November 14, 2022November 21, 2022November 25, 2022December 5, 2022
November 21, 2022November 28, 2022December 2, 2022December 12, 2022
November 28, 2022December 5, 2022December 9, 2022December 19, 2022
December 5, 2022December 12, 2022December 16, 2022December 26, 2022
December 12, 2022December 19, 2022December 23, 2022January 2, 2023
December 19, 2022December 26, 2022December 30, 2022January 9, 2023
December 26, 2022January 2, 2023January 6, 2023January 16, 2023
January 2, 2023January 9, 2023January 13, 2023January 23, 2023
January 9, 2023January 16, 2023January 20, 2023January 30, 2023

Tax Refund and Return Customer Service Numbers

Some useful IRS Phone Numbers to Get More Information on Your Return and/or Refund
Talk To a Live Person
(800) 829-0582 Ext. 652

Tax Help Line
(800) 829-1040
for human? press 1 for English, then 0, 0 again

Refund Hotline
(800) 829-1954

TeleTax
(800) 829-4477
Taxpayer Advocate Service Hotline
1-877-777-4778

Turbo Tax Customer Service Line
(877) 908-7228

H&R Block Customer Service Line
(800) 472-5625

Full disclosure : while I may get a small commission when you sign-up for the above links, which helps me keep this site running, I did not get paid to put the above providers not the list. I actually believe they are the best providers our there and the deals to be genuine. For more see my terms of use policy.

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14 thoughts on “Tax Season Software Deals, Key Tax Dates, IRS Refund Processing and Contact Numbers”

  1. My husband did my taxes (like every year) and they were accepted. It said they were going to be deposited on the 4th of April but now it says they are processing … Is there a cause for this? Why would they go from accepted to processing?

    Reply
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  3. I hear that if you can order a transcript you will get your refund within 72 hours? I was able to order mine over the phone. Is this a good sign?

    Reply
    • I ordered my transcript (refund transcript) on Saturday (02/20/16) – two weeks after filing (02/06/16). I had no problem ordering them; however, I didn’t get my tax refund yet. On the 27th it will be 21 days. I helped a friend file his taxes on the same day (02/06/16) and he got his refund last week. I always hate waiting, but it’s not looking like the “72 hour” rule really applies.

      Reply
  4. I filled over two weeks ago and I still haven’t seen any change on the Wheres my IRS tax refund. Why is it taking so much longer for my taxes to be processed? I only had 1 income and 1 dependent.

    Reply
  5. I lost my copy, of my taxes so that I can find out if it was mailed out yet or not. But I would need the amount to find it out. Cause I need to pay my rent for this mouth, I hop that you can help me cause I don’t need to be livining in the street. Thank you!

    Reply
  6. I bought my home in june 2010 I think as a vet its wrong I cant get a first time home owners tax credit served 8 yrs still missed it by 45 days there should be a wavier for people like me

    Reply

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