As the 2023 tax season starts, here's how to file and when your refund may come

If you’ve been looking forward to the federal tax-filing season, good news: as of this week it’s here. If you haven’t – well, sorry, it’s still here.

If you’d like to get this particular task over with quickly – and get a refund in your bank account sooner rather than later – the Internal Revenue Service began accepting 2022 tax returns as of Jan. 23. If working on deadline is more your style, you have until April 18 to file on time this year.

Here’s what else you need to know as you collect your forms and fire up the computer - or the car for a trip to the tax-preparer’s office.

Get your tax refund faster by going paperless

If you want that refund in your pocket sooner, file online. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file their returns electronically at and to use direct deposit to your back to get a refund. Direct deposit is available even if you don’t have a checking account. Refunds should be received within 21 days of electronic filings with no issues and who use direct deposit, according to the IRS.

Even though you can file your return now, the IRS can't issue refunds involving the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February, a delay intended to help prevent fraud. The "Where's My Refund?" link on should show an updated status by Feb. 18 for most Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit filers. Most of these refunds are expected to reach taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards by Feb. 28 for those using direct deposit and without other issues on their return.

Forms you'll need to fill out your federal tax return

Whether you prepare your return yourself or have someone else doing it, the IRS website notes, you'll need your tax records on hand first, including:

Taxable income includes unemployment, interest, gig economy income and digital assets (such as cryptocurrency or NFTs), according to the IRS.

What about a Tennessee tax return?

At the state level, since Tennessee doesn't have individual income tax, you don't need to file a state income tax return.

File your federal tax return - and get help with it - for free

Any person or family earning $73,000 or less in 2022 can use IRS Free File on the website to get free guided tax preparation. You can also prepare your own tax forms without guidance by using Free File Fillable Forms on the IRS site. The Department of Defense offers the free MilTax resource for the military community.

Free one-on-one help with tax preparation is available to qualified taxpayers. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs will offer help at these Knoxville sites listed by the IRS:

  • CAC LT Ross Building, 2247 Western Ave., Knoxville, now through April 14. Appointment required. Call 865-244-3086.

  • CAC Cokesbury North VITA, 9919 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, now through March 29. Appointment required. Call 865-693-0353.

  • VITA Knoxville at Ladies of Charity, 120 W. Baxter Ave., Knoxville, now through April 15. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays. No appointment required.

  • Farragut, 616 Fretz Road, Knoxville, Feb. 1-April 15. Appointment required. Call 865-748-0151.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program also will provide free tax preparation, with a specific focus on taxpayers who are older than 50 and have low to moderate income. AARP help will be offered at designated local libraries, senior centers and other sites around the community. For a list of specific times, dates and locations, go to AARP also offers coaching from an IRS-certified tax counselor for people doing their tax returns themselves; to request coaching, submit an online request form on the Tax-Aide website.

Your refund might be less than last year's

If you notice an unwelcome dip in your refund amount this year compared to 2022, that could be at least in part because of tax law changes such as the elimination of the Advance Child Tax Credit and no Recovery Rebate Credit for pandemic-related stimulus payments, the IRS warned.

What if your taxes still aren't ready by April 18?

If you just can’t get your tax return done and sent by April 18, then you can file for free for an automatic six-month extension to file your return, which will give you until Oct. 15, according to the IRS website. If you owe federal taxes, however, you do still need to pay by the April 18 deadline if you want to avoid late fees.

Robin Gibson is the people and trends editor for Knox News. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @RobinGibsonTSP. Read exclusive content while supporting strong local journalism by subscribing at

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: How to do your taxes online and get a refund faster