What is IRS HUB Testing?

The information in this article is up to date for tax year 2023 (returns filed in 2024).

Every year, the IRS accepts several batches of tax returns to test in a controlled launch before they officially open. Learn more about what this means and how it could affect your clients in this article. 

What is HUB testing?  

HUB testing or the controlled launch period takes place when the IRS tests the electronic filing system by receiving a limited number of tax returns in advance of the official e-file opening. The IRS processes the tax returns it receives as it normally would, which means that some tax returns will be accepted by the IRS even before e-file opens to the public.  

When is HUB testing?  

The dates when the IRS conducts HUB testing vary each year, but the testing is typically performed within the first week or two prior to the official opening of e-file. We will notify you in the TaxSlayer Pro message center of the HUB testing as well as the date e-file opens when we receive them.  

Can I choose which returns get selected for HUB testing?  

No. TaxSlayer Pro has no control or influence over what returns the IRS randomly chooses for processing during HUB testing. You should transmit returns as you normally would, understanding there is no guarantee that a particular return will be selected for HUB testing.  

Can I change and retransmit a return during HUB testing?  

No. As with any return transmitted, you need to wait until it is acknowledged, either with an acceptance or a rejection, before knowing the next steps. We cannot stop a return once it is transmitted.  

How many returns does the IRS include in the controlled launch?  

There is no set number of returns that the IRS will test every year. Most returns submitted early will wait in a queue until the e-file season is officially opened.  

If my client’s return is selected for HUB testing, will they get their refund sooner?  

The PATH Act of 2015 mandates that the IRS does not issue refunds on returns that include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before February 15. If your client’s return is selected and does not include those credits, they could receive their refund sooner than they otherwise would have if it was transmitted after the official start of e-file.  

Returns with a refund that include either the EITC or ACTC will be processed as normal, meaning the refund won’t be issued until February 15 at the earliest.  

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