IRS to open tax season Jan. 30 after adjusting for late tax law changes
Following the last-minute tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the Internal Revenue Service announced it plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on Jan. 30.
The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on that date after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems, IRS officials say. This will reflect the bulk of the late tax law changes enacted Jan. 2. The vast majority of tax filers — more than 120 million households — should be able to start filing tax returns starting the end of the month.
The IRS estimates that remaining households will have to wait to file a month or so later because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. This group includes people 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.
“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.”
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, noted Bill Brunson, IRS spokesman for Arizona.
The opening of the filing season follows passage by Congress of an extensive set of tax changes on Jan. 1, 2013, with many affecting tax returns for 2012. 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.
However, there are several forms affected by the late legislation that require more extensive programming and testing of IRS systems, Brunson said. The IRS hopes to begin accepting tax returns including these tax forms by late February or early March.
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 will soon be available on IRS.gov.
As part of this effort, the IRS will be working closely with the tax software industry and tax professionals to minimize delays and ensure as smooth a tax season as possible under the circumstances, Brunson said.