Since the U.S. Congress only passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) on the 3rd of this month, the IRS has announced this week that its current plans are to not begin accepting and/or processing any tax individual income tax returns for 2012 until January 30 or subsequent.
The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on that date after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems. This will reflect the bulk of the late tax law changes enacted January 2, 2013. This means that approximately120-plus million households cannot file their 2012 tax returns until at least the 30th of January 2013.
Households that need to file for Residential Energy Credits, Form 5695, Depreciation and/or Amortization, Form 4562, and/or General Business Credits, Form 3800, will not be able to file their taxes until well into February or March of 2013. Most of these Households in this group file more complex tax returns and typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension, states the IRS.
“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.”
The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the anticipated Jan. 30 opening date. There is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit.
The opening of the filing season follows passage by Congress of an extensive set of tax changes in ATRA on Jan. 1, 2013, with many affecting tax returns for 2012. While the IRS worked to anticipate the late tax law changes as much as possible, the final law required that the IRS update forms and instructions as well as make critical processing system adjustments before it can begin accepting tax returns.
The IRS originally planned to open electronic filing this year on January 22, 2013, but this opening date wil not be met.
Who Can File Starting January 30, 2013?
The IRS anticipates that the vast majority of all taxpayers can file starting January 30, 2013, 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?
As I mentioned above, there are three (3) forms affected by the late 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. A full listing of the forms that won’t be accepted until later is available on the website www.IRS.gov.
It does not matter whether you file your tax return via electronically or a paper filing, the opening dates above apply equally to either form of filing. Please note that if your particular form is not available for filing a complete and accurate tax return on January 30, 2013, please wait until you have all of the correct forms. Trying to file now and then amend your tax return will only make your original tax return a prime candidate for an IRS audit.
Michael Nelson, Esq.