HARRISBURG, PA — The filing season for 2020 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns will begin on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, announced the Department of Revenue. The start of the filing season for income tax returns at the state level will mirror the same date the IRS established to begin accepting and processing 2020 federal tax returns.
The Department of Revenue is informing taxpayers that a new, state-only filing option is available at mypath.pa.gov. myPATH is a free, user-friendly system that allows taxpayers to seamlessly file the Pennsylvania Income Tax Return (PA-40) and make income tax payments, as well as offering other services.
“We’re excited to offer a new online filing system that will make it easy for our customers to file their 2020 state returns for free,” Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell said. “We encourage all Pennsylvania taxpayers to take advantage of this new, easy-to-use option.”
Delays Possible for Some State Returns, Refunds
The IRS announced last week that it would begin accepting and processing 2020 tax returns on Feb. 12. The agency announced the delay in the start of the filing season — which typically occurs in January — is necessary to perform programming and testing work on IRS systems.
The opening of the filing season for Pennsylvania income tax returns is typically tied to the date the IRS sets. That’s because state and federal tax returns that are simultaneously filed through third-party tax preparation software or by a tax preparation service are first routed to the IRS’ systems. The IRS then routes Pennsylvania state returns to the Department of Revenue at the opening of its tax season, allowing for the processing of state returns and refunds to begin.
Because that process won’t begin this year until Feb. 12, taxpayers who wish to file their returns within the next three weeks may see a delay in the processing of their returns and refunds.
However, taxpayers interested in filing their Pennsylvania returns can do so immediately by visiting mypath.pa.gov. myPATH is accepting 2020 returns and payments.
myPATH Offers Many Benefits
Using the electronic filing option available through mypath.pa.gov offers many benefits, including:
- Fast and free return/refund processing
- The “Where’s My Income Tax Refund?” system to track the status of a refund
- Instant confirmation of a successful filing
- The benefit of error-reducing automatic calculators
- User-friendly options that are not available to taxpayers filing by paper
- The ability to view a detailed Statement of Account for personal income tax
Electronic Filing for Free
Other free electronic filing options are available to file state and federal returns using software from a reputable vendor. More vendor information is available on the Department of Revenue’s website.
Electronic Filing for a Fee
Paid tax preparers and commercial tax preparation software providers offer electronic filing, or e-filing, for a fee. Check a list of vendors on the department’s website for further information.
April 15 Deadline
All taxpayers who received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2020 must file a Pennsylvania personal income tax return by midnight, Thursday, April 15, 2021.
PA Personal Income Tax Guide
Pennsylvania taxpayers who have personal income tax questions are encouraged to review the PA Personal Income Tax Guide, an online publication prepared by the Department of Revenue that includes detailed information on a number of PIT-related topics.
Taxpayer Service and Assistance
Personal income tax assistance is also available through the department’s Online Customer Service CenterOpens In A New Window and by calling 717-787-8201 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Online Customer Service Center contains answers to hundreds of common income tax questions and allows taxpayers to securely submit a question to the department through a process that is similar to sending an email.
The Department of Revenue’s district offices are open in a limited capacity with social distancing guidelines in place. Appointments are required to receive in-person assistance. Please keep the following in mind.
- Taxpayer assistance hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Appointments between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. will be reserved for senior citizens.
- Taxpayers are required to wear a mask during appointments.
- Taxpayers should know that the Department of Revenue will be following health and safety guidelines established by the Department of Health to promote a clean office environment.
Taxpayers can check the status of their refunds online by selecting the Where’s My Income Tax Refund? link on the department’s homepage; or by calling 1-888-PATAXES. Taxpayers will be prompted to provide their Social Security number and requested refund amount to obtain the current status.
Free tax forms and instructions are available at www.revenue.pa.gov.
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