ProPublica has reported extensively about taxes, the IRS Free File program and the IRS. Specifically, the ways in which the for-profit tax preparation industry — companies like Intuit (TurboTax), H&R Block and Tax Slayer — has lobbied for the Free File program, then systematically undermined it with evasive search tactics and confusing design. These companies also work to fill search engine results with tax “guides” that sometimes route users to paid products.

Update, Feb. 14, 2024: This article has been updated and fact-checked to reflect the most current tax information according to the IRS.

On Jan. 29, 2024, the IRS began accepting and processing 2023 tax returns. That means that the window for filing your individual tax return is about two and a half months long.

There’s hope that the process will be less of a headache than in years past: The IRS promises improved service, and it has expanded in-person services to support taxpayers, has reduced call wait times and will even offer its own free filing pilot program. These changes build on customer service investments the agency made in 2023, thanks to an influx of funding from the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

When Are My Federal Taxes Due?

2023 federal income tax returns are due on April 15, 2024. This deadline applies to all individual tax filers. Quarterly estimated taxes for individuals are due April 15, 2024, too. Businesses often have other tax filing deadlines.

There are a few exceptions. Members of the military serving in a combat zone get an extension to file their taxes. This extension is typically 180 days after leaving a combat zone. Taxpayers residing in federally designated disaster areas may also have additional time to file their taxes.

When Are My State Taxes Due?

There’s a good chance the April 15 deadline applies to your state taxes, too. Most states’ tax deadlines are alsoApril 15, but there are a handful of states that do not have an income tax and do not require individuals to file by the April 15 deadline. Your state’s tax office website will have the most accurate information about your state income tax deadline.

Can I Get an Extension on My Taxes?

Yes. Individual taxpayers can ask for an extension to Oct. 15, 2024, by filing Form 4868 by April 15. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file for an extension electronically with the IRS’ Free File program. You can also file for an extension when you pay your estimated income tax electronically with the IRS’ free Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or a credit or debit card and indicate that the payment is for an extension.

An extension provides you with more time to prepare and file your tax return. It does not, however, grant you more time to pay your taxes. Taxpayers who need an extension to file but still owe tax payments can avoid penalties by making an estimated payment by the deadline.

I’m a victim of a severe storm. Am I eligible for an extension?

Whether you’re eligible for a disaster-related extension largely depends on the county you live in and is based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster declaration. The IRS automatically identifies individuals living in those counties as eligible for the new deadline and makes announcements to that effect on its website.

Taxpayers affected by severe storms in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Tennessee and West Virginia, for example, have until June 17, 2024, to file their taxes. A list of counties eligible for the June 17 deadline is available on the IRS website. The new deadline applies to various individual and business tax returns as well as payments.

If you’re a taxpayer affected by these severe storms who’s living outside the disaster area, you can call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief. Details are provided on the IRS website.

When Should I Expect My Tax Refund?

The IRS says that most tax refunds are being paid within 21 days of filing. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically with direct deposit, as it’s the quickest way to receive your refund.

While the IRS continues to accept paper forms, it warns of significant delays in processing your tax return if you file on paper.

There are two credits that may delay your refund. If you filed for the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, by law, the IRS cannot begin issuing your refund until mid-February.

About this guide: ProPublica has reported on the IRS, the Free File program and other tax topics for years. ProPublica’s tax guide is not personalized tax advice. Speak to a tax professional about your specific tax situation.

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Kristen Doerer is a reporter in Washington, D.C. Her writing has appeared in PBS NewsHour, The Guardian and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other outlets. Follow her on Twitter at @k2doe.