IRS: Tax season to begin later than usual

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Fiscal cliff legislation has created a slight hurdle for income tax processing.

The Internal Revenue Service has said it will open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns Jan. 30, eight days later than originally planned.

The delay is expected to give the agency time to update programming and testing of processing systems to accommodate late tax law changes enacted Jan. 2, officials said.

The majority of tax filers — an estimated 120 million households — will be able to file Jan. 30 and should receive their refunds on time.

“We have worked hard to open tax season as soon as possible,” said IRS acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller, in a statement. “This date ensures we have the time we need to update and test our processing systems.”

He said those who send paper tax returns before the projected opening date should not expect processing to take place early. There is no advantage to filing on paper, he said. Taxpayers who file electronically will receive their refunds faster by using e-file with direct deposit. More than 80 percent of taxpayers filed electronically last year.

The changes in processing relate to new tax laws under the American Taxpayer Relief Act.

Those with more extensive forms and processing system changes related to residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits will not be able to start filing until late February or into March because of the need for more extensive form and processing changes. A full listing of the forms that won’t be accepted until after the Jan. 30 start date is available at IRS.gov.

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