Start of tax season delayed until Jan. 30; later for some taxpayers

BY ALISTAIR M. NEVIUS

The IRS announced on Tuesday that it plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing many individual income tax returns on Jan. 30 (IR-2013-2). However, not all taxpayers will be able to start filing tax returns on that date.

The IRS says it will be able to begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 30 after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems to account for most of the tax law changes enacted Jan. 2 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, H.R. 8. The IRS says that this will allow “the vast majority of tax filers—more than 120 million households” to start filing tax returns on Jan. 30. The delayed start of tax season applies to both electronic and paper returns. The IRS had originally planned to open electronic filing of tax returns on Jan. 22.

The IRS says that on Jan. 30 it will be able to accept tax returns affected by the late change in the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amount as well as three other major extended provisions: The state and local sales tax deduction (Sec. 164(b)), the higher education tuition and fees deduction (Sec. 222), and the deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary schoolteachers (Sec. 62).

Some returns delayed

Because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes, many taxpayers will not be able to file returns until February or March. For example, the IRS says taxpayers who claim residential energy credits or general business credits or who depreciate property will not be able to file starting Jan. 30. However, the IRS in its press release downplays this delay, claiming that most of these taxpayers “typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension.”

Forms that will require more extensive programming changes include Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits, Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, and Form 3800, General Business Credit. The IRS is promising to post a full list of the forms that it will not accept until later on its website. The list was not yet available as this item went to press.

The IRS will announce a specific date when it will start accepting these forms in the near future.

Alistair M. Nevius ( anevius@aicpa.org ) is the JofA’s editor-in-chief, tax.

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