Individual Income Tax Season Opens February 12 – Choose Direct Deposit
January 19, 2021
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) will begin accepting Individual Income Tax returns for tax year 2020 on February 12, 2021, consistent with the date announced by the IRS.
According to the IRS, the February 12 start date “allows the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of IRS systems following the December 27 tax law changes.” The SCDOR adopts the IRS date since South Carolina Income Tax returns use information from federal returns.
To save time, increase security, and save tax dollars, the SCDOR and South Carolina State Treasurer’s Office are encouraging taxpayers to file electronically and choose direct deposit. About eight of every 10 taxpayers choose direct deposit now and last year 92% of taxpayers filed online.
"We are pleased that so many South Carolinians have embraced online filing and direct deposit. It's the safest, most accurate way to file," said SCDOR Director Hartley Powell. "We want taxpayers to receive their refunds quickly, and choosing direct deposit is the fastest and safest way.
“We appreciate our collaboration with the SCDOR to inform South Carolinians about the benefits of switching to direct deposits for their income tax refunds,” said State Treasurer Curtis Loftis. “Our focus through Operation Check Reduction has been to get funds due to taxpayers, state employees, and state vendors in the most secure and cost-effective manner possible while also reducing opportunities for fraud.”
Why choose direct deposit?
- It’s faster. Direct deposit is the fastest refund option to process. Your refund is deposited directly into your bank account, giving you the fastest access to your money. Mail may be delayed, but direct deposit won’t be.
- It’s safer. Paper checks can get lost in the mail or stolen. Addresses and delivery can get mixed up, and refund checks may end up in the wrong mailbox, especially if you move during tax season. If you file online and choose direct deposit, you’re less likely to make errors thanks to system checks. Both Social Security and the U.S. Veteran’s Administration use direct deposit for almost all of their payments.
- It’s easier. All you have to provide is bank account information, including an account number and routing number.
- It’s cost-efficient. According to the IRS, federal refund paper checks cost the government $1 each, while direct deposit costs about a dime.
- It’s greener. Printing and mailing checks means more paper use. The SCDOR issued more than 324,700 paper checks in 2020. That’s a lot of paper. Save some trees – choose the paperless method – choose direct deposit.
Fast facts for the 2021 filing season:
- Filing online with a reputable provider is fast, accurate, and secure. Visit dor.sc.gov/iit-filing to view all of your filing options.
- Make sure you have all W-2s, 1099s, and other necessary documents before you file. Using year-end pay stub information instead of official documents could slow down processing.
- Processing your return and refund is expected to take 6-8 weeks. Fighting fraud to protect taxpayer dollars is our priority. Return and refund processing is expected to take 6-8 weeks from February 12 or the date you file, whichever is later. This allows time for the SCDOR to use all available tools to check for fraud and protect your refund. If you choose a paper check refund, your processing time may be longer.
- State and federal returns are due April 15, 2021. If you file and pay electronically, you have until May 1, 2021, to submit your South Carolina return and full payment without penalties or interest. This does not apply to federal returns or returns submitted on paper.
- Check your refund status anytime using the Where's My Refund tool at dor.sc.gov/refund. Our phone lines are busy this time of year, and our representatives have the same information as our website.
- If you usually owe taxes, use MyDORWAY to make payments. Visit dor.sc.gov/MyDORWAY to get started.