Raleigh, N.C. Jan 14, 2022 The N.C. Department of Revenue announced that it will begin processing 2021 tax year returns in mid-February, which is several weeks after the start of the nation’s tax season on Monday, January 24, 2022. This delay is due to the late approval of the state budget, which included multiple tax law changes. The later start date allows NCDOR time to complete the testing of system updates and approve updates in commercial tax preparation software, which are required to implement changes made by the final budget enacted in late November 2021. North Carolina taxpayers may submit their state forms at the same time they submit their federal forms beginning January 24 if their tax preparation software has been updated for the upcoming year. The early submissions will be considered as filed on the date transmitted, even though there will be a delay in processing. NCDOR encourages taxpayers to use electronic filing rather than paper filing. E-filing ensures a faster refund and is the most secure way to file. The department will provide additional information in upcoming weeks regarding the exact start date and when taxpayers should begin to expect to receive individual income tax refunds.