IRS will begin 2013 filing season and processing of individual returns on Jan. 30

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IR 2013-2

IRS has announced that it plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on Jan. 30, 2013. The announcement follows on the heels of the enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the 2012 Taxpayer Relief Act) on Jan. 2, 2013, which, apart from permanently extending the Bush-era tax cuts for most taxpayers and increasing the income tax rates for some high-income individuals for 2013 and later years, retroactively restored many deductions and credits and patched the alternative minimum tax for 2012. IRS will begin accepting tax returns only after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems to reflect these retroactive changes.

Filing season begins. In IR 2013-2, IRS said that the vast majority of tax filers (more than 120 million households) should be able to start filing tax returns starting Jan 30, 2013, regardless of whether they file electronically or on paper.

IRS estimated that the remaining households—those claiming residential energy credits, depreciation or general business credits—will be able to start filing in late February or early March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. In particular, IRS listed the following key forms as requiring more extensive programming changes: 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 is available on IRS’s website.

IRS said that a specific date will be announced for the returns in this latter group in the near future. IRS noted that taxpayers who file these returns generally file more complex tax returns and typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension.

IRS said that taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit and filing starting on Jan. 30, 2013. At that time, IRS will be able to accept tax returns affected by the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch, as well as the three major extender provisions for individuals claiming the state and local sales tax deduction, higher education tuition and fees deduction, and educator expenses deduction.

IRS says that there is no advantage to filing on paper before the January 30 opening date. Because it must update forms and instructions, as well as make critical processing system adjustments, before it can begin accepting tax returns, IRS will not process paper tax returns before the opening date.

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