You can file your federal return when you have all your 2020 tax info (W-2s, 1099s, etc.) and all the tax forms and schedules in your return have been finalized (most should be ready by late January).
The IRS will start processing the backlog of e-filed returns on February 12.
I heard some people already got accepted — what's going on?
The IRS always processes a test batch about a week before the official processing date. These returns do not necessarily follow the "first in, first out" rule; instead, they are selected to test specific scenarios such as itemized returns, returns that contain a certain form, and so forth.
This means a handful of taxpayers may get accepted before the official February start date, even if they filed after you did. However, tax refunds — including those in the test batches — won't be processed until after the official start date.
Note: If your return is among those that the IRS processes early as part of its testing, your tax refund (if any) won't be processed until after they start accepting everyone's e-filed returns.
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