IRS Announces Dates for Accepting 2012 Tax Returns and Tax Filing Online

IRS Announces Dates for Accepting 2012 Tax Returns and Tax Filing OnlineDue to changes in tax laws resulting from the changes enacted by congress as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) passes in January 2, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has delayed the acceptance for some Americans filing 2012 tax returns. Shortly after the passage if ATRA by congress, the IRS announced the dates for filing taxes.

The IRS has indicated that it plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual 2012 income tax returns on January 30 2013. The delay is to give the agency time to update forms and complete programming and testing of its processing systems.

While the IRS announcement means that the vast majority of tax filers (over 120 million households) should be able to start filing tax returns starting Jan 30, remaining households will be able to start filing in late February or into March based on the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. Those who will have to wait include people claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits, and those filing more complex tax returns.

“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.”

The IRS has indicated that taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit. So for those filing taxes online, often for free, will programs like Turbotax or the IRS freefile e-filing service, they can file their taxes through the programs, and once the IRS notifies the companies that they are ready to process the returns, they will be submitted. Below are some Q&A from the IRS regarding 2012 tax filing.

Who Can File 2012 Income Tax Returns Starting January 30th?

The IRS anticipates that the vast majority of all taxpayers can file starting Jan. 30, regardless of whether they file electronically or on paper. The IRS will be able to accept tax returns 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.

When Can other Americans file their 2012 tax returns with the IRS?

There are several forms 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). A full listing of the forms that won’t be accepted until later is available on

If I file my 2012 taxes online for free now, when can I expect a refund?

For those with simpler tax situations, refunds should be processed within a few weeks of the January 30 date. For those with more complex situations, the recommendation from services like TurboTax is to file as soon as possible, and expect a refund by late February if you file close to the end of January.

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