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2023 tax deadlines

The end of the 2023 tax season for most Americans is April 18, 2023. If you are unable to file before that date you still have options.

  1. You can file for an extension. Filing an extension gives you an additional six months to October 15, 2023, to submit a complete return. If you believe you will owe taxes you must estimate how much you owe and pay the amount due with your extension form .
  2. You can file a late return without an extension. If you owe taxes, then you may be assessed a penalty for filing late.
  3. If you do not owe taxes or you expect a refund, you may not owe a penalty. Still, it may be best to file as soon as you can to receive your refund or to ensure you don’t owe a balance. See below for more information on ways to file a return for free and claiming your tax refund.

Exceptions to 2023 tax season filing deadline

Changes for 2023

When you file your taxes this year, you may have a lower refund amount, since some tax credits that were expanded and increased in 2021 will return to 2019 levels. The 2023 changes include amounts for the Child Tax Credit (CTC), Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Child and Dependent Care Credit.

  • Those who got $3,600 per dependent in 2021 for the CTC will, if eligible, get $2,000 for the 2022 tax year.
  • For the EITC, eligible taxpayers with no children who received roughly $1,500 in 2021 will now get a maximum of $530 in 2022.
  • The Child and Dependent Care Credit returns to a maximum of $2,100 in 2022 instead of $8,000 in 2021.

About filing your tax return

If you have income below the standard deduction threshold for 2022 , which is $12,950 for single filers and $25,900 for married couples filing jointly , you may not be required to file a return. However, you may want to file anyway. In many cases, especially for people with low incomes, these features can increase the amount you could receive in a refund. There are some key factors to make sure you look out for.


If you worked during 2022 and had taxes withheld from your paycheck, you may be able to get some or all of that “over-withholding” back in your refund. Make sure you get W2 forms from all your employers and enter that information into the tax form when you fill it out.

The earned income tax credit

To claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) , you must

If you are eligible for this credit, the maximum amount you could receive is:

  • $560 if you have no dependent children
  • $3,733 if you have one qualifying child
  • $6,164 if you have two qualifying children
  • $6,935 if you have three or more qualifying children

The child tax credit (CTC)

The Child Tax Credit is worth a maximum of $2,000 per qualifying child. Up to $1,500 is refundable. To be eligible for the CTC, you must have earned more than $2,500.

Different ways to file your taxes

If you are one of the estimated 100 million people that are eligible to file your tax return for free you can keep all of your refund money by choosing one of three options.

In person full-service free tax preparation

If you meet the requirements below, you may be able to take advantage of in-person, full-service tax preparation services through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) , AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, and The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. These free programs have operated for over 50 years and use IRS certified tax preparers and meet high IRS quality standards. This means you can be assured that you will have an accurate return.

You can schedule an appointment with VITA/TCE and Tax-Aide sites if you:

  • Generally make $60,000 or less,
  • Have a disability,
  • Have limited English skills or speak English as a second language, or
  • Are 60 years or older

Find a VITA or an AARP Tax Aide site

Note: Some VITA or AARP Tax Aide sites are open year-round and some close at the end of tax season. When you search for a site, check the “Dates open” column to find a site that plans to remain open after April 18, 2023.

Remote full-service free tax preparation

You can prepare your own return with help from IRS certified volunteers when you need it through MyFreeTaxes if:

  • Your income is $73,000 or less.

You can get connected to VITA providers around the country virtually to have your return prepared by signing up through GetYourRefund if:

  • Your income is $66,000 or less.

Free self-preparation

You can prepare and file your own return through IRS Free File :

  • If your income is $73,000 or less, you can access guided return preparation assistance.
  • If your income is greater than $73,000 you can access fillable forms to prepare your own return without assistance.

Free tax filing for servicemembers

You can prepare and file your tax return for free through MilTax if you are:

  • Active-duty service members, spouses and dependent children of the eligible service members.
  • Members of the National Guard and reserve — regardless of activation status.
  • Retired and honorably discharged service members, including Coast Guard veterans, within 365 days of their discharge.
  • A family member who is managing the affairs of an eligible service member while the service member is deployed.
  • A designated family member of a severely-injured service member who is incapable of handling their own affairs.
  • Eligible survivors of active-duty, National Guard and reserve deceased service members regardless of conflict or activation status.
  • Some members of the Defense Department civilian expeditionary workforce.

Consider these factors before using a fee-based tax preparer

Before choosing to pay someone to prepare your taxes here are a few things to consider:

  • The fees you pay will generally be based on the complexity of your return. If for example you have multiple sources of income including self-employment, are claiming certain tax credits, or have had changes in your life circumstances during the course of the year you will likely pay more than if you have a simple return.
    • Despite the complexity of your return, you may still be eligible to file your taxes for free if you meet the guidelines listed above so check with the free provider of your choice first before paying to have your taxes done.
  • If you go to a paid preparer they may offer you additional products that will reduce the amount of your refund such as refund anticipation checks or refund anticipation loans.

Understand refund anticipation checks and refund advance loans

Refund Anticipation Check (RAC)

If you use a fee-based tax preparer and you don’t have the necessary filing fees, some tax preparers may offer you a refund anticipation check (RAC). A RAC allows you to pay the tax preparation fee out of your refund instead of upfront. When you receive your refund, the tax preparer will take out the RAC fee, filing fee, and any other service fees they charged you. A RAC doesn’t deliver your refund more quickly.

RAC fees typically range from $30 to $50.

Refund Advance Loan (RAL)

Some fee-based tax preparers may offer you a refund advance loan (RAL) so that you can get a portion of your expected refund in advance. Tax preparers may call them a “tax refund advance.” If you decide to do an advance, you will borrow money upfront from the preparer, and once the IRS issues your refund to the tax preparer, you receive the remaining portion, minus the RAL fee, and any other service fees they charged you. The amount of a RAL is typically a percentage of your estimated tax refund.

All tax preparation firms are different. Some firms offer RALs with no fees or interest, but others may charge fees and interest.

Keep in mind that when you file electronically, the IRS typically issues most refunds in less than 21 days, so you may end up paying a big RAL fee for a short-term advance.

As with any financial product or service, carefully consider all fees and charges, as well as timing, to help make an informed decision that’s best for your situation.

Access your tax refund quickly and safely

If you think you may receive a refund, here are some things to think about before you file your return:

  • Electronically filing and choosing direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. When using direct deposit, the IRS normally issues refunds within 21 days. Issuance of paper check refunds may take much longer. The IRS estimates 4 to 6 weeks.
    • If you already have an account with a bank or credit union, make sure you have your information ready — including the account and routing number — when you file your tax return. You can provide that information on the tax form and the IRS will automatically deposit the funds into your account.
    • If you have a prepaid card that accepts direct deposit, you can also receive your refund on the card. Check with your prepaid card provider to get the routing and account number assigned to the card before you file your return.
    • Learn more about choosing the right prepaid card.
  • If you don’t have a bank account or prepaid card, consider opening an account or getting a prepaid card. Many banks and credit unions offer accounts with low (or no) monthly maintenance fees when you have direct deposit or maintain a minimum balance. These accounts may limit the types of fees you can incur and may also offer free access to in-network automated teller machines (ATMs). You can often open these accounts easily online.

Watch out for tax scams!

Scammers usually target you by impersonating the IRS to get you to share your personal information with them. Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use mail, telephone, or email to target individuals, businesses, and payroll and tax professionals.

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Learn how to recognize the telltale signs of a scam and make sure you know how to tell if it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.