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Tax law changes will delay fillings, refunds

Last Modified: Wednesday, January 09, 2013 7:23 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

The Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday that it will begin accepting 2012 tax filings Jan. 30 — more than a week later than initially anticipated. That means many taxpayers who file early will have to wait until February for a refund.

The announcement comes on the heels of the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” The IRS will begin accepting tax returns Jan. 30 after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems, the agency said.

The majority of taxpayers — more than 120 million households — will be able file their tax returns on that date.

The IRS predicts that all other households will be able to start filing in late February or March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes, including people claiming “residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits,” reads a news release.

“We have worked hard to open tax season as soon as possible,” IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller said in a prepared statement. “This date ensures we have the time we need to update and test our processing systems.”

The IRS will not process paper tax returns prior to January. There is no advantage to filing on paper before then. Taxpayers will get their tax refunds quicker by using e-file with direct deposit — used by more than 80 percent of taxpayers, according to the news release.

Mollie Broussard, a CPA with McElroy, Quirk and Burch, said she doesn’t think the delay will present any challenges for CPAs unless there are more delays.

“We can continue to work and prepare these returns and have them ready, but we can’t technically submit them until Jan. 30 or until the IRS completes all the processing changes,” she said. “It delays us being able to process the returns and release them to the IRS.”

CPAs are usually able to start mid-January, she said.

“We will see the delays in returns with a business side and individuals that alternative minimum tax may affect their returns,” she said.

She said CPAs know what the guidelines are but that the IRS has to apply the guidelines into their computer system.

The IRS is working alongside the tax software industry and tax professional community to minimize delays.

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