What to Expect When Filing Taxes This Year

Tax Year 2020 Timeline

Tax Year 2020 Timeline



Friday, February 12: NCDOR begins accepting and processing individual income tax returns. NCDOR will follow the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and officially open the 2021 individual income tax filing season and begin accepting and processing individual income tax returns on Friday, Feb. 12.


Taxpayers may file their state returns electronically prior to February 12, but the NCDOR is unable to accept them and begin processing before that date. Paper returns may be mailed prior to February 12 and will be processed after that date as well.



Thursday, April 15: Filing deadline. Tax returns are due this year on Thursday, April 15. Learn more about filing individual income tax returns electronically.


Why is there a delay? 

According to the IRS, tax season will begin later than usual because they need time to do additional programming and testing of their systems following the Dec. 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments. Tax processing procedures and guidelines force the NCDOR to follow the IRS opening. Taxpayers who file before the opening date will receive their acknowledgements for electronically filed (eFiled) returns beginning Feb.12.


Filing Information

Filing Information


Taxpayers are encouraged to file their taxes electronically; it is safer, more convenient, and more accurate than traditional paper filing. Free online filing (eFile) options for qualified taxpayers are available through the NCDOR.gov website using NCfreefile.

Note: Taxpayers must start at the agency website, www.ncdor.gov, to file their taxes electronically with NCfreefile.  


While taxpayers may file their state returns prior to February 12, the NCDOR cannot accept them before that date, which includes beginning the refund process.

Due to the NCDOR’s enhanced identity theft protection measures, some refunds may take 6 weeks for electronically-filed returns and 12 weeks for paper returns. Filing returns early also reduces the risk of tax refund fraud. 



Filing Resources