Tax Return Filing Delays


It is no secret that taxing authorities are encouraging or requiring taxpayers to participate in electronic filing of their tax returns. Taxing authorities prefer electronic filing due to the decreased cost of processing and the ability to efficiently check returns for accuracy. Many taxpayers prefer electronic filing as well due to decreased postage and paper costs, electronic confirmation of tax return acceptance, and quicker refunds.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law on January 2, 2013 and contained many provisions which affect 2012 tax returns. This creates challenges for a wide variety of taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) programmers and tax software developers were unable to finalize the necessary forms and computer programs to process returns until this law was finalized. This complication has caused significant delays in the IRS’s ability to process returns, whether filed by paper or electronically.

Not all types of tax returns have been affected by the delay. In fact, the IRS has already begun processing tax returns that do not contain certain affected forms. A list of affected forms can be found on our tax software solution’s website. Taxpayers who have depreciable assets or are claiming certain credits are among those who may be delayed. Others who do not file returns containing the affected forms can already electronically file their returns.

The IRS recently issued a press release stating that returns claiming depreciation expense will begin to be accepted on February 10th. It is assumed that major tax software providers will follow suit and begin allowing the electronic filing of returns within a week of this date. However, many forms are still delayed and may not be available until the end of March.

Unfortunately, paper filing your return does not speed this process. The IRS has stated that affected tax returns filed by paper will be held until the forms are finalized.

If your return is one of those impacted by the delays, you should still provide your tax information as soon as possible. We will prepare your returns and then hold the electronic filing authorization until the IRS begins processing the affected forms.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call.