Instead of opening the tax filing season on January 22nd as planned, the IRS delayed it until the 30th. This delay affects over 120 million households who planned on receiving their tax refunds early in 2013.
According to the IRS press release, the delay was the result of changes made by Congress. The updates to tax law that took effect on January 2nd required the IRS to update and test their processing systems. These updates to programs and quality assurance of new systems resulted in a delayed IRS tax refund schedule.
Who can file now?
Individuals are able to file tax returns as of January 30th. This includes those that are using the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Though this tax was updated late in the IRS system, provisions have been made to speed up the filing process for the majority of taxpayers.
Other provisions include those claiming; state or local sales tax deductions, educator expenses, and higher education deductions. Though most taxpayers are able to file their tax returns on January 30th, there are nearly 30 forms left to update that will delay others.
Causing a huge bottleneck of returns to be filed is the delay in releasing the new form 4562. This form, entitled Depreciation and Amortization, needed to be updated due to changes in laws. It is also a very common form used to report business equipment, rental expenses, and other property value deductions.
Delays for education tax credits
Another area of tax law that was affected by the recent law changes are the education tax credits. Form 8863 is used to claim the Lifetime Learning and American Opportunity Tax credits. Since they were changed during the recent tax deal voted by Congress, the form will be updated and not available until mid-February.
There are many other forms that have been affected with a complete list on the IRS website including the expected date they will be available.
E-filing is your best option
According to the IRS, approximately 80% of taxpayers chose to file electronically last year. Since electronic filing was delayed, taxpayers may be tempted to file on paper to get them completed. In reality, the paper returns received will not be processed and will sit until the filing season is officially open.
Additionally, paper returns take longer for the IRS to enter further delaying any refunds. The IRS suggests filing electronically and ensures that once the particular forms are available the return will be processed within 21 days of receipt.