Tax Season Software Deals, Key Tax Dates, IRS Tax Refund Processing and Latest Tax Brackets

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.

Trending Tax Topics

Tax Filing Software Providers

Maximize your refund and pay as little as you have to with these top online e-file tax software packages. Thanks to being a well established personal finance and tax blogger I get a lot of deals from tax software vendors through out tax season. But I only need one for myself so I thought I would share some of the best offers from each provider, some of which are exclusive to this site.

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.
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.
TaxACTProvider of affordable digital and download tax preparation solutions for individuals, business owners and tax professionals. Software has been designed by in-house programmers and tax accountants. All forms are IRS and State approved. Probably one of the cheapest online tax filing options out there.
Liberty TaxLiberty 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

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 ($72,000 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

2020 to 2021 Tax Season Filing Key Dates and Deadlines

Federal IRS Tax Filing Key Dates and Deadlines for 2020 tax returns filed in 2021. Table Not Clear? Click Here To See Full View
Tax Filing Deadlines
Tax Related Activity
Jan 1stFirst 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
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
Feb 12th IRS E-file to go live, allowing submission 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).
[2021 update] This date is 2 to 3 weeks later than normal processing, due to system updates and processing of second stimulus checks. Will also delay refund processing schedule.
March 15S Corporation and Partnership tax returns due
April 15 May 17*Tax Day* Last day for filing federal and state income tax returns and extension requests. Extended by the IRS from the normal April 15th date.
April 15 May 17Deadline 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 15 May 17FBAR (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 15Filing 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.

2020 Tax Brackets (for returns filed in 2021)

Below are the tax tables for the current and next tax year

2020 Income Tax Brackets and Rates

Tax RateSingle FilersMarried Filing JointlyMarried, filing separatelyHead of Household
10%Up to $9,875Up to $19,750Up to $9,875Up to $14,100
12%$9,876 to $40,125$19,751 to $80,250$9,876 to $40,125$14,101 to $53,700
22%$40,126 to $85,525$80,251 to $171,050$40,126 to $85,525$53,701 to $85,500
24%$85,526 to $163,300$171,051 to $326,600$85,526 to $163,300$85,501 to $163,300
32%$163,301 to $207,350$326,601 to $414,700$163,301 to $207,350$163,301 to $207,350
35%$207,351 to $518,400$414,701 to $622,050$207,351 to $311,025$207,351 to $518,400
37%$518,400+$622,050+$311,025+$518,400+

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

See this article for more on the current and past year federal tax brackets.

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.

2020 IRS Tax Refund Processing Schedule in 2021

Start Date Tax Return Accepted by IRS (WMR status = Return Received)IRS Refund Accepted Week Ending Date (WMR status = Refund Approved)Estimated Refund Date (via Direct Deposit)Estimated Refund Date (via Paper Check)
February 12, 2021February 21, 2021March 5, 2021March 19, 2021
February 22, 2021February 28, 2021March 12, 2021March 26, 2021
March 1, 2021March 7, 2021March 19, 2021April 2, 2021
March 8, 2021March 14, 2021March 26, 2021April 9, 2021
March 15, 2021March 21, 2021April 2, 2021April 16, 2021
March 22, 2021March 28, 2021April 9, 2021April 23, 2021
March 29, 2021April 4, 2021April 16, 2021April 30, 2021
April 5, 2021April 11, 2021April 23, 2021May 7, 2021
April 12, 2021April 18, 2021April 30, 2021May 14, 2021
April 19, 2021April 25, 2021May 7, 2021May 21, 2021
April 26, 2021May 2, 2021May 14, 2021May 28, 2021
May 3, 2021May 9, 2021May 21, 2021June 4, 2021
May 10, 2021May 16, 2021May 28, 2021June 11, 2021
May 17, 2021May 23, 2021June 4, 2021June 18, 2021
May 24, 2021May 30, 2021June 11, 2021June 25, 2021
May 31, 2021June 6, 2021June 18, 2021July 2, 2021
June 7, 2021June 13, 2021June 25, 2021July 9, 2021
June 14, 2021June 20, 2021July 2, 2021July 16, 2021
June 21, 2021June 27, 2021July 9, 2021July 23, 2021
June 28, 2021July 4, 2021July 16, 2021July 30, 2021
July 5, 2021July 11, 2021July 23, 2021August 6, 2021
July 12, 2021July 18, 2021July 30, 2021August 13, 2021
July 19, 2021July 25, 2021August 6, 2021August 20, 2021
July 26, 2021August 1, 2021August 13, 2021August 27, 2021
August 2, 2021August 8, 2021August 20, 2021September 3, 2021
August 9, 2021August 15, 2021August 27, 2021September 10, 2021
August 16, 2021August 22, 2021September 3, 2021September 17, 2021
August 23, 2021August 29, 2021September 10, 2021September 24, 2021
August 30, 2021September 5, 2021September 17, 2021October 1, 2021
September 6, 2021September 12, 2021September 24, 2021October 8, 2021
September 13, 2021September 19, 2021October 1, 2021October 15, 2021
September 20, 2021September 26, 2021October 8, 2021October 22, 2021
September 27, 2021October 3, 2021October 15, 2021October 29, 2021
October 4, 2021October 10, 2021October 22, 2021November 5, 2021
October 11, 2021October 17, 2021October 29, 2021November 12, 2021
October 18, 2021October 24, 2021November 5, 2021November 19, 2021
October 25, 2021October 31, 2021November 12, 2021November 26, 2021
November 1, 2021November 7, 2021November 19, 2021December 3, 2021
November 8, 2021November 14, 2021November 26, 2021December 10, 2021
November 15, 2021November 21, 2021December 3, 2021December 17, 2021
November 22, 2021November 28, 2021December 10, 2021December 24, 2021
November 29, 2021December 5, 2021December 17, 2021December 31, 2021
December 6, 2021December 12, 2021December 24, 2021January 7, 2022
December 13, 2021December 19, 2021December 31, 2021January 14, 2022
December 20, 2021December 26, 2021January 7, 2022January 21, 2022
December 27, 2021January 2, 2022January 14, 2022January 28, 2022
January 3, 2022January 9, 2022January 21, 2022February 4, 2022

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.

14 thoughts on “Tax Season Software Deals, Key Tax Dates, IRS Tax Refund Processing and Latest Tax Brackets

  1. Its been over a month now since they given me this 151 code and no letter whats going on?

  2. 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?

  3. This website is completely gret. I’ve search these info a long time and I view it that is professional, fast to comprehend.
    I congratulate you for this research that I’ll tell to the
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  4. Can someone tell me what the minimum amount of income is to be eligible for the EIC?

      1. hi had a question how come i cant see the comments to talk about the refund any more when i tey to get on it brings e to the 2015 taxes comments

  5. 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?

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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

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