Monday marks the beginning of tax season, which is starting 17 days earlier than it did last year.

What You Need To Know

  • The IRS says there is a reason why tax season is early this year

  • It all goes back to the impacts of the pandemic

  • The IRS wants taxpayers to file their returns electronically

The IRS says that is out of necessity, because of similar challenges as last year with processing delays due to the impacts of the pandemic.

The IRS is urging taxpayers to ditch the paper returns and go electronic, saying it will speed up the process and leave less room for error.

When taxpayers file electronically, the IRS says they should choose the direct deposit option.

If that is done, they should get their refund within three weeks of filing.

Speaking of going electronic, they are encouraging people to look online before picking up a phone if they're having issues.

Last year, the IRS says it fielded more than 145 million calls between Jan. 1 and May 17, more than four times the average amount of calls in a typical year.

Experts offer this advice, even before you start your return, to make sure the process is as smooth as possible.

“Be painstakingly thorough in getting your documentation together before you start to complete the return. Make sure you take into account different payments you’ve received from the government," said Mark Everson, the former IRS commissioner.

If taxpayers got an Economic Impact Payment, the IRS is urging them to make sure they report the correct amount of money they received on their tax return.

That will be another big factor in avoiding processing delays.

The deadline to file taxes or request an extension this year is April 18, three days later than usual.

For those who are granted an extension, their returns will be due Oct. 17.​