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Tax season opens January 30

Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on January 30.

The IRS will accept tax returns on that date after updating forms and completing programming and testing of its processing systems. This will reflect the bulk of the late tax law changes enacted January 2.

The IRS estimates that remaining households will be able to start filing in late February or into March because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes. This group includes people claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits. Most of those in this group file more complex tax returns and typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension.

The opening of the filing season follows passage by Congress of an extensive set of tax changes in ATRA on January 1, with many affecting tax returns for 2012. While the IRS worked to anticipate the late tax law changes as much as possible, the final law required that the IRS update forms and instructions as well as make critical processing system adjustments before it can begin accepting tax returns.

Who can file starting January 30?

The IRS anticipates that the vast majority of all taxpayers can file starting January 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.

Who can't file until later?

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.

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 list of the forms that won't be accepted until later is available on

As part of this effort, the IRS will work closely with the tax software industry and tax professional community to minimize delays and ensure a smooth tax season.

Updated information will be posted on