COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Monday is the first day of tax season and experts are urging filers to do two specific things to make returns go smoothly as the IRS deals with a backlog of 2020 returns.

Financial experts and the IRS said in order to get your return in a timely manner, file your return online and include direct deposit.

That’s what Wayne Brown, with Dugan Brown Federal Retirement Experts, said is key to filing your 2021 taxes.

“Paper tends to slow things down,” Brown said. “When you have a direct deposit, you not only cut down on the delay of the actual billing time, but it can also cut down on processing time on the IRS side.” 

Brown says along with that, if you have the documents you need, file now.

“If you can do it now, do it now,” he said. “There’s no reason to wait if you don’t have to wait. All waiting does is group your return in with everybody else that decided to wait until that last minute.”

The IRS is currently dealing with a backlog of about 2 million returns from last year. The cause of that backlog is either dealing with paper returns, missing documents, or fraud. But according to an IRS spokesman, there are two other factors playing a role in the backlog.

“We’ve had three stimulus checks go out that the IRS has managed,” explained IRS spokesman Luis Garcia about what has added to the backlog. He added, “We’ve had a number of different tax law changes that all happened during the middle of a pandemic.”

Garica said the backlog won’t impact people who successfully filed last year. People who didn’t receive full stimulus checks or child tax credits should also keep an eye out for a letter to go along with their return.

“With that letter that you get from the IRS that says you only got $400, you put that into your taxes or give it to your tax professional and you can claim the recovery rebate credit,” he said.

Brown said if your tax situation is complicated, “Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you’re in a situation where you’re unsure of, or your situation is complicated, or a little more complex than what you’re used to.”

There is an option for free filing on the IRS website, but you must meet certain requirements. To see if you qualify for the IRS’ free-file option, click here.