Some people will be receiving their tax refunds later than expected.
The Internal Revenue Service delayed the tax filing season eight days to Jan. 30. The eight-day postponement will consequently affect when taxpayers will obtain their refunds.
The IRS would typically notify taxpayers of when they would receive their tax refunds within 24 to 48 hours after they had filed. This year, taxpayers will receive a receipt that the IRS received their forms, but no estimated refund date will be given, according to Tom Douaihy, CPA and tax manager of Joseph Paciotti CPA in Wilkes-Barre.
Last year, people who filed on time were seeing their refunds seven to 10 days later. This year, Douaihy expects it should take up to 20 days for returns to be processed and taxpayers will not receive their refunds until mid-February to March.
Due to last-minute tax law changes Congress made to the American Taxpayer Relief Act in January, the IRS has been rushing to update forms and make changes to its processing systems.
You can complain to your congressman but it's not going to change the circumstance, said Douaihy. If they had gotten their act together back in the fall when they were supposed to, this wouldn't have happened.
The IRS still is working on updated forms for taxpayers claiming energy credits, real estate depreciation or business credits and have not announced a date as to when taxpayers can file these. Douaihy said he expects this date to be mid-February or early March.
This causes a domino effect, creating a problem for both taxpayers and tax preparers.
We would have had 20 to 30 percent of taxes done by then, so it's just going to delay more people getting their refunds, he said.
Peak time for tax preparers is usually the last week of January into the first two weeks of February when tax preparers are bombarded with taxes to file.
Jackson Hewitt is ready for it, we're just waiting on the IRS, said Karen Balchunas, the general manager of local Jackson Hewitt Tax Service offices.
Balchunas suggests filing taxes electronically to receive tax refunds as soon as possible, because paper files are processed last and gone through manually.
According to a statement released by the IRS, more than 80 percent of taxes were filed electronically last year.
Taxpayers may even get a chance to have their returns sent in earlier, according to Thomas Heaney, a Liberty Tax Service franchise owner. Liberty Tax will be a part of IRS hub testing, where those who have their forms filled out and ready can have their taxes sent to the IRS before Jan. 30, he said.
They just got to hang on. There's nothing they can do, he said.
• Jan. 30: IRS to accept completed returns
• Undetermined: When revised forms for energy credit deductions and others will be available.
• April 15: Last day to file without incurring penalties.