By: Gary M. DellaPosta, CPA
Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Internal Revenue Service delayed the opening of tax season this year, but began processing individual income tax returns on January 30.
The delay is due to late tax law changes in the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) that required the IRS to update forms and instructions, as well as make critical processing system adjustments before it could begin accepting tax returns.
According to the IRS, the vast majority of tax filers--more than 120 million households--were able begin filing tax returns on January 30. The IRS reports that remaining households will be able to start filing in late February or into March 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.
Because the IRS will not process paper tax returns before the anticipated January 30 opening date, there is no advantage to filing on paper before then, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit.
Who Can File Starting January 30?
Most taxpayers were able to file starting January 30, regardless of whether they file electronically or on paper, including those who are 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?
Several tax forms were 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.
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).
Please contact us if you need a full listing of the forms that won't be accepted until later and rest assured, we are working closely with the IRS to minimize delays and ensure as smooth a tax season as possible under the circumstances.
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