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taxes

How Early Can You File Your Tax Return in 2020?

If you're an early bird when it comes to filing your taxes, start gathering your receipts now. The IRS will begin processing 2019 tax returns soon.

The sooner you file your tax return, the sooner you'll receive any refund due. So start gathering your receipts now, because the IRS just announced that it will start accepting 2019 tax returns on January 27, 2020. That's a day earlier than last year.

Even though you can prepare your return through the IRS' Free File program, a tax software company or a tax professional before January 27, the IRS won't process the return until that date.

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If you have a federal tax refund coming, you could get your money back in as little as three weeks. In the past, the IRS has issued over 90% of refunds in less than 21 days. If you want to speed up the refund process, e-file your 2019 tax return and select the direct deposit payment method. That's the fastest way. Paper returns and checks slow things down considerable.

However, don't expect your refund before mid-February if you claim the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit. By law, refunds for returns claiming these credits must be delayed. This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with the credits.

If you're not going to file your return right away, just make sure you beat the April 15 deadline.

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