January 24, 2013

This year, the IRS will begin processing tax returns on January 30. The original date was January 22, but the IRS needs some extra time to update its forms and refine its processing systems to reflect the tax law changes that resulted from the Fiscal Cliff.

Note that the IRS will not begin processing tax returns before January 30, so there is no advantage to filing before that date. Software companies and tax professionals may be accepting tax returns before then, but keep in mind that they will not submit them to the IRS until January 30.

However if your tax filing process is more complex, you may need to wait until late February or early March to file because of the need for more extensive forms and processing systems changes. You fall within this category if you are claiming residential energy credits, depreciation of property or general business credits.

After the IRS starts processing returns, it expects to process refunds within the usual timeframes of approximately 21 days. To know the exact status of your refund, use the “Where’s My Refund” tool on the IRS.gov website.

Once January 30 hits, be sure to use the IRS’s e-file option. It is the fastest and most accurate way to file your tax returns. And if you want your refund even faster, be sure to use direct deposit.