The IRS issued a notice today that most taxpayers will be able to start filing their 2012 individual income tax return on January 30, 2013. This is the same whether you are planning to file electronically or with a paper return. This article will explain the reason for the delay and what taxpayers should do in the meantime while waiting for file.
Due to the tax law changes made in January under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the IRS will have to update various forms, complete programming of its processing systems, and testing those processing systems. Therefore, the finalized forms and the systems necessary to process those forms may not be fully in place until shortly before January 30, 2013.
Most taxpayers, even those subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, those claiming the state and local sales tax deduction, the higher education tuition and fees deduction, and the educator expenses deduction will be able to file by January 30th. However, people who are going to be claiming Residential Energy Credits, Depreciation Deductions, or the General Business Credits may have to wait until late February or March to be able to file their returns.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available from the IRS.
What to do to speed up your tax refund
In the meantime, it is not too early to start "preparing" to have your taxes prepared. Some steps you can take now include:
- Setting aside all tax documents, such as W-2s, 1098s, and 1099s that you receive.
- Finalizing your books (if you have a business) to be ready to provide to your tax preparer.
- Obtaining year-to-date statements from all medical professionals, lab companies, and pharmacies that serve your family if you think that your medical expenses might be deductible (i.e. if you think there is a chance they might exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income).
- Obtaining year-to-date statements from your utility companies if you are planning to claim a home office deduction.
- Locating a tax preparer that you will feel comfortable working with. The tax preparer is likely to have an organizer that might tax some time for you to complete, so you could get started on this now while taking these other steps.
If you leave preparing your taxes until the last minute when you are running up towards the April 15th deadline, you run the risk of filing late and incurring penalties and your tax preparation experience is most likely to be far more stressful than it should be. If you start getting ready early and start working with your tax preparer early, your tax preparation experience will be far less stressful and you will have more time to make any necessary adjustments or look into alternate ways of claiming different things when you are not up against the clock to get the return out.
Of course for many higher income earners and those waiting for tax documents such as K-1 from partnerships, filing an extension to October 15th is absolutely necessary.
The importance of being current and not incurring a new IRS tax debt
And who must be especially careful is someone who will owe money in 2013 for 2012 and is in an existing repayment schedule or has made a previous deal with the IRS to settle the tax debt. In particular, anyone who:
- is an installment agreement
- is in currently non-collectible status
- has had an offer in compromise accepted in the last 5 years
A new tax liability will default or cancel the existing Installment Agreement. A new liability will knock a taxpayer out of currently non-collectible status and lastly, a new tax debt will default the previously accepted and paid Offer in Compromise. If any of these things look like they may happen, contact us. We can help.