IRS to accept tax returns on Jan. 30

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Residents have two weeks to ready their income tax information before the Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting federal returns on Jan. 30.

The usual April 15 deadline for filing federal income tax returns still applies, but last-minute fiscal cliff negotiations over stalled federal budget issues prompted the Internal Revenue Service to delay by eight days the beginning of the tax-filing season.

The deal reached by U.S. lawmakers meant the IRS had to make some changes to reflect new provisions before accepting tax returns.

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

But Elaine Cobb with H&R Block said residents can file their taxes now – if the needed forms are available.

“The majority of forms are available,” Cobb said. “What will happen is you can come now and file. We put the return on hold, and then, on Jan. 30, when the IRS starts streaming, we’ll send the return on through.”

The same is said for one’s state tax return, she said.

Cobb said there are three common issues faced when using a tax professional.

“First, make sure you have a valid ID,” she said. “We can’t use an expired one. Secondly, make sure you have all the necessary paperwork. Make sure you have all your W-2s if you work multiple jobs, and be sure to bring anything you want to claim, like mortgage interest. Lastly, bring a Social Security card. We have to have all of that to file.”

Cobb said using a tax professional will ensure getting the most from one’s refund.

“Tax law changes every year,” she said.

It could take up to 21 days from the day the IRS accepts one’s return before a refund is sent, Cobb said.

“If you file on Jan. 30, it could be any day between Jan. 31 through the first week of February before (the return) is accepted,” she said.