The IRS promised “marked improvement” for the upcoming tax season, saying Monday that Jan. 29 will be the date that it begins accepting and processing 2023 tax returns.

In a news release, the IRS said it expects almost 129 million individual tax returns to be filed by the April 15 deadline.

The IRS said that some of the new and expanded tools and resources include:

  • Increased help on the toll-free line and an expanded customer call-back feature designed to reduce wait times.
  • Improvements to the Where’s My Refund? tool,. Updates to the tool will allow taxpayers to see more detailed refund status messages in plain language.
  • Enhanced paperless processing, which will allow taxpayers to submit all correspondence, non-tax forms, and responses to notices digitally and will be able to e-File 20 additional tax forms. This will allow up to 125 million paper documents to be submitted digitally per year.
  • An enhanced IRS Individual Online Account that includes chat, the option to schedule and cancel future payments, revise payment plans, and validate and save bank accounts.
  • Direct File, a pilot tax filing service that gives eligible taxpayers free filing of 2023 federal tax returns online. It will be rolled out in phases and is expected to be widely available in mid-March.

“As our transformation efforts take hold, taxpayers will continue to see marked improvement in IRS operations in the upcoming filing season,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in the 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.”

Most refunds are issued in under 21 days, but the wait time will be longer for returns that require additional review, the IRS said. The Service cannot send refunds to taxpayers claiming the earned income tax credit (EITC) or additional child tax credit (ACTC) before mid-February. This is because of the 2015 Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act, P.L. 114-113, that Congress passed to provide extra time for the agency to review the returns for fraud.

In addition to the Where’s My Refund? tool, taxpayers can check their refund status by using the IRS2Go app.

Other key dates:

  • FridayIRS Free File opens on this date, which is when participating software companies will accept completed tax returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically with the IRS.
  • Feb. 27: The IRS expects most EITC/ACTC-related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards by this date if they choose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.
  • April 17: Due date for Maine and Massachusetts.
  • Oct. 15: Due date for extension filers.