Every year, the IRS accepts several batches of tax returns to test in a Controlled Launch before they are officially open. 

What is HUB testing? 

HUB Testing or Controlled Launch is the period when the IRS tests the electronic filing system by receiving a limited number of tax returns in advance of the official opening of the e-file. 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 is officially opened. 

When is HUB testing? 

The dates the IRS begins and ends HUB Testing vary each year, but the testing is typically performed within the first week or two prior to the official opening of the e-file. We will notify you in the program message center of the dates of HUB testing as well as the date e-file officially opens when we know them. 

Can I choose which returns get selected for HUB testing? 

No. It is random nobody has any control or influence over what returns the IRS randomly chooses for processing during HUB Testing. You should transmit returns as you normally would, understanding that there is no guarantee that a particular return will be selected. 

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 to take. We cannot stop a return once it has been 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. The majority of 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 the e-file. 

Returns with a refund that includes 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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