The original plan was to kick-off the tax season on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, but the starting day had to be moved forward to accommodate the late changes made as part of the fiscal cliff deal. The starting date for filing will now be January 30, 2013.
Processing of returns can usually commence earlier in the month because, most years, the budgets and taxes have already been finalized. But the infamous arguments and delays in this year’s fiscal cliff budget finalization forced the IRS to push the date to the end of January. The tax collection agency has to reprogram its computers and change forms to reflect the updates and with Republicans and Democrats not reaching a compromise until New Year’s Day, the time necessary to update everything leaves the Internal Revenue Service no option but to push the date forward.
Most taxpayers can file starting on the January 30, 2013 date, but some taxpayers will have to further delay their tax return submission depending on deductions and other factors. Property depreciation, energy credits, and other exceptions will require further delays because they require more intensive program changes which are not expected to be updated until later. Taxpayers with these types of deductions, credits, etc., typically take longer to file anyway because they take longer to prepare their returns. Regardless of the reason, however, these tax returns cannot be filed until near the end of February, 2013.
Waiting an additional 8 days to file tax returns this year shouldn’t matter to most taxpayers because it is a reasonably short period of time. However, it could matter to those who were looking forward to quick processing of their tax return and mailing of a tax return check. These early- filing taxpayers are often those with lower incomes and simpler returns. They often rely on faster processing so they can get their refund and use it for financial obligations, but they will have to wait a little longer than expected this year to get their tax return money.
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