SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-Tax season officially begins when the IRS starts to accept and process tax returns.
In 2022 that day falls on January 24, two weeks earlier than last year.
The extra time will allow people to account for jobless benefits and Advance Child Tax Credit payments, the Recovery Rebate Credit and charitable contributions.
Now is the time to look for W-2s and 1099s and other statements in the mail. It's also a good time to gather up receipts.
The spike in COVID is also making tax services do things differently.
The Perez Tax Service in Santa Barbara has a walk-up window that allows staff to talk to clients during their regular hours.
"We are not doing any traditional in-person interviews and appointments, and things like that, so everything is done remotely, phone, email, and technology is our friend these days," said Joel Perez who runs Perez Tax Service with his brother Luis.
Perez said tax filers have to let the IRS know if they have or have not received the money from the government.
"This year stimulus and Advanced Child Tax Credits is something that is very new and the new form called 6419 has been mailed out to notify them of what advanced child tax returns were received so far, in order to reconcile them on the tax returns" said Perez, " If you get those things wrong it will complicate and delay your tax return."
If they haven't received money they were supposed to receive they can recoup the money on their tax return.
Perez said there is nothing wrong with using the IRS Free File service or company such as Turbo Tax if they have simple tax returns.
"But more often than not you are left with more questions than answers ,and that is a big part of the service that we provide getting those questions answered."
Perez recommends filing sooner than later. He said it can catch problems including identity theft.
"Early is always good and encouraged and again to avoid identity theft which is a huge burden not only on the IRS but consumers and individuals alike it is a terrible and rampant problem."
Perez said the situation is more difficult to deal with if someone impersonating another person files electronically first.
That is why they work to verify each client's identity.
If people run out of time to file they can get a filing extension.
For more information visit www.irs.gov.