WASHINGTON — The IRS announced January 29 as the official start date of the 2024 tax season, and expects more than 128.7 million tax returns to be filed by the April 15 tax deadline.
The announcement comes as the agency undergoes a massive overhaul, attempting to improve its technology and customer service processes with tens of billions of dollars allocated to the agency through Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in August 2022.
“As our transformation efforts take hold, taxpayers will continue to see marked improvement in IRS operations in the upcoming filing season,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in a news release. “IRS employees are working hard to make sure that new funding is used to help taxpayers by making the process of preparing and filing taxes easier.”
Agency leadership says this year more walk-in centers will be open to help taxpayers, enhanced paperless processing will help with IRS correspondence and enhanced individual online accounts will be available for taxpayers.
Additionally, eligible taxpayers will be able to file their 2023 returns online directly with the IRS through a new, electronic direct file pilot. The IRS says it will be rolled out in phases and is expected to be widely available in mid-March.
The IRS expects most refunds to be issued in less than 21 days.
In previous years, the IRS was slammed with massive backlogs of paper tax returns. In June-2022, the IRS faced more than 21 million backlogged paper tax returns, with National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins stating at the time: “The math is daunting.”
Now, with increased funding the IRS expects a smoother filing season with less backlogs, but now it is seeing persistent threats of funding cuts.
Last year’s debt ceiling and budget cuts deal between Republicans and the White House r esulted in $1.4 billion rescinded from the agency’s original $80 billion allocation through the Inflation Reduction Act, and a separate agreement to take $20 billion from the IRS over the next two years and divert those funds to other nondefense programs.