Well everyone it's a new year, and with it comes the infamous tax season. A whole new list of tax laws, headaches and questions have begun to spread across the nation as individuals and businesses alike prepare to file.
One of the biggest and what should be a relatively simple to answer question is "When can I file my 2012 tax return?" You yourself may have already asked this, and I am going to attempt to answer it for you.
It's safe to assume that you witnessed the historic fiscal cliff talks that deadlocked our House and Senate for weeks at the end of last year. As a result of Congress's 12th hour deal, the IRS began accepting and processing returns a week later than expected on Jan. 30, 2013. A week doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but that doesn't mean people will simply be able to file a week later than usual. Tax professionals at TurboTax are saying that it could still be weeks before many Americans can file their taxes.
Things you can do now
There are some things you can do to avoid any delay in your return. The most important thing is to file now and not wait. The sooner that you get your tax return in, the sooner you will get your refund back. By using electronic filing and direct deposit, this will assure that your refund is processed quickly, or at least quicker than those who don’t use e-filing or direct deposit. More than likely, if you use these methods, you will get your refund in less than three weeks.
Many who file their taxes early in anticipation of their big tax refund check will most likely not see their returns until the middle of February as a result of the delays. Some who typically file early will also be held up as they wait for their W2 forms to arrive, because payroll departments were forced to hold off on their end of year accounting due to new changes in the tax code.
For those claiming credits
Those looking to claim credits for higher education who need to file a Form 8863 are being held up as well. If you are looking to claim other credits, such as residential energy credits, depreciation of property, or general business credits you are out of luck too as you won't be able to file until late February 2013.
Credits aren't the only thing holding up returns. The IRS has implemented new processes to help weed out identity theft. New filters they have set in place to help spot potential fraud will further delay the process if they need to take a closer look at your return. This can extend the typical three week turn around even more.
So to answer the question as best I can, the majority of Americans can start filing their taxes now. However if you fall into any of the categories discussed in this article you may have to hold off just a little while longer.
Whatever your situation is, and despite all the delays to the start of tax season, be sure to have your income tax completed by the Apr 15 deadline if you want to avoid any penalties. From what we can gather, the IRS has no intention of extending that date.