Individual taxpayers filing Form 1040 will have to wait another week this year before their tax returns can be accepted and processed, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday. For households with more complicated returns, the IRS said they will be able to start filing in late February or into March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes.
To comply with tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) on Jan. 2, the IRS informed the public that the vast majority of tax filers—more than 120 million households—should be able to start filing tax returns starting Jan 30, following form updates and the completion of program and process system testing.
Among those who will have to wait are tax filers claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits. Most of those in this group file more complex tax returns and typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension, the IRS noted.
“We have worked hard to open tax season as soon as possible,” IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller said. “This date ensures we have the time we need to update and test our processing systems.” More than 80 percent of taxpayers filed electronically last year.
E-filing preferred to paper tax returns
If you think taking pen to paper and sending in your paper tax return to get a jump on the crowd, don't. The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the anticipated Jan. 30 opening date, and said there is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date. Taxpayers who use e-file with direct deposit will receive their tax refunds far faster. "The best option for taxpayers is to file electronically," Miller said.
Taxes and tax rates were the center of the fiscal cliff battle between the White House, Senate Democrats and Congressional Republicans that became ATRA, and with the passage of the bill came more direction to the IRS on an extensive set of tax changes from Congress that while the IRS worked to anticipate the latest tax law changes as much as possible, the final law required the IRS to update forms and instructions as well as make critical processing system adjustments before it can begin accepting tax returns.
Who Can File Starting Jan. 30?
The IRS anticipates that the vast majority of all taxpayers can file starting Jan. 30, regardless of whether they file electronically or on paper. The IRS will be able to accept tax returns affected by the late Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch as well as the three major “extender” provisions for people claiming the state and local sales tax deduction, higher education tuition and fees deduction and educator expenses deduction.
Who Can’t File Until Later?
There are several forms affected by the latest legislation that require more extensive programming and testing of IRS systems. The IRS hopes to begin accepting tax returns including these tax forms between late February and into March; a specific date will be announced in the near future.
The key forms that require more extensive programming changes include Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits), Form 4562 (Depreciation and Amortization) and Form 3800 (General Business Credit). A full listing of the forms that won’t be accepted until later is available on IRS.gov.
As part of this effort, the IRS will be working closely with the tax software industry and tax professional community to minimize delays and ensure as smooth a tax season as possible under the circumstances.
Information posted on IRS.gov.
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