The IRS has is pushing back the start of the tax-filing season – thanks to Congressional delays regarding passage of “fiscal cliff” legislation.
According to the IRS, no taxpayer returns will be processed before Jan. 30, 2013, which is now the official launch of the tax-filing season.
There are about 150 million taxpayers in the U.S. and most of them – roughly 120 million people – can file tax returns for the 2012 tax year beginning on Jan. 30, 2013.
But the rest of the country’s taxpayers will have to wait until late February or even early March to file their 1040 income tax forms.
The IRS had originally hoped to begin accepting 1040 forms for all taxpayers on January 22, 2013.
But the agency was forced to delay the tax season because it took Congress until Jan. 1, 2013 to pass the fiscal cliff bill, which is officially known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act.
Numerous tax changes were included the Act, and now the IRS needs time to update forms and instructions, program its computers, and do the necessary testing of its processing systems.
“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.”
Who Can File in Late January
If you’re expecting a big tax refund, you might be tempted to file your return even before the Jan. 30th opening date.
Don’t waste your time.
You won’t be putting yourself “in the queue” so to speak, nor will you get any advantage to sending in a paper return early. Plus, the IRS says it won’t even touch those returns until Jan. 30th.
At that point, “the best option for taxpayers is to file electronically,” Miller said.
That’s because e-filing your tax returns gets it processed much more quickly and – along with direct deposit – gets your tax refund check faster filing a paper return, Miller noted.
Little wonder, then, that more than 80% of taxpayers filed electronically last year.
But how do you know if you can you file your 2012 income tax return on January 30th — especially if you’re anticipating a juicy tax refund check?
The IRS says the following people can file starting in late January:
- Taxpayers who take the standard deduction and don’t itemize their deductions (The standard deduction amount for 2012 is $5,950 for singles and $11,900 for married people filing jointly).
- Those who only itemize common personal deductions, such as mortgage interest; property taxes, or state and local taxes
- People impacted by the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT
- Individuals and couples who deduct for higher education tuition and educator expenses
All of these categories were amended, extended or updated in the recent fiscal cliff bill.
Who Must File In Late February or Early March
Taxpayers who are claiming certain less-common tax credits and various deductions have to wait until later in the tax-filing season to turn in their 1040 forms.
That may be fine for many of these taxpayers, since the bulk of them usually have more complex returns and thus tend to file closer to the April 15th deadline anyway. Some even get six-month extensions to file their tax returns on or before October 15th.
So you’ll need to wait to file if you plan to claim the following:
- residential energy credits (Form 5695)
- depreciation and amortization of property (Form 4562)
- general business credits (Form 3800)
Small business owners, therefore, will likely have to file later in the tax-filing season since entrepreneurs are among the taxpayers more likely to claim these types of credits.
There are also a slew of other more complicated tax forms that won’t be accepted by the IRS until later.
If you plan to claim any of the following credits, or to submit any of these forms with your 1040, you too will have to wait to file your taxes:
- Form 3800 General Business Credit
- Form 4136 Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels
- Form 4562 Depreciation and Amortization (Including Information on Listed Property)
- Form 5074 Allocation of Individual Income Tax to Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Form 5471 Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations
- Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits
- Form 5735 American Samoa Economic Development Credit
- Form 5884 Work Opportunity Credit
- Form 6478 Credit for Alcohol Used as Fuel
- Form 6765 Credit for Increasing Research Activities
- Form 8396 Mortgage Interest Credit
- Form 8582 Passive Activity Loss Limitations
- Form 8820 Orphan Drug Credit
- Form 8834 Qualified Plug-in Electric and Electric Vehicle Credit
- Form 8839 Qualified Adoption Expenses
- Form 8844 Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Employment Credit
- Form 8845 Indian Employment Credit
- Form 8859 District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit
- Form 8864 Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit
- Form 8874 New Markets Credits
- Form 8900 Qualified Railroad Track Maintenance Credit
- Form 8903 Domestic Production Activities Deduction
- Form 8908 Energy Efficient Home Credit
- Form 8909 Energy Efficient Appliance Credit
- Form 8910 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
- Form 8911 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit
- Form 8912 Credit to Holders of Tax Credit Bonds
- Form 8923 Mine Rescue Team Training Credit
- Form 8932 Credit for Employer Differential Wage Payments
- Form 8936 Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit
Exactly when people seeking these tax credits will be able to file their 2012 income tax returns has not yet been determined. The IRS says it will make another announcement about a specific date later in the tax-filing season.
One final note: just because the IRS has delayed the start of the tax season doesn’t mean it’s changing the main tax deadline: April 15, 2013.
That tax deadline remains in effect and if you can’t meet it for any reason, be sure to request a filing extension to avoid any problems with Uncle Sam.
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