IRS Delays Start of 2013 Tax Season

The IRS has delayed the official start of tax season by a whole 8 days this year, announcing today that they will begin accepting tax returns on January 30th.  The delay is a result of the fiscal cliff legislation and the necessary tweaking, updating, and testing of IRS processing systems.  No change to the filing deadline as of yet…

Eight days doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you consider the millions of early filers that normally file during those first eight days, we can expect a pretty big bottleneck this year.  If you do expect a tax refund, don’t be surprised if it takes the IRS a little longer than normal to send you the check or wire you the money.  You can speed up the process if you file electronically and opt for direct deposit, but you’ll still need to be extra patient this year.

Meanwhile here at the California Franchise Tax Board, state tax season begins TODAY.

IRS to Announce Official Start Date of Tax Season

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So, what is the official start date of the 2013 tax filing season? In other words, what is the first day that the IRS will begin accepting 2012 tax returns? This is still an open question.

Without congressional action, the IRS had said that they would not be able to accept a majority of tax returns until March. But Congress has acted and now it is just up to the IRS to make a decision about the “start date.” Once the IRS has finished reviewing the new legislation, they will announce the official start date of the 2013 tax season. The IRS will also have information about paycheck withholding based on the new tax rates.

Until then, there are typically plenty of things to do in preparation for filing your tax return, especially for the self employed. Now is the time to organize your records and identify a qualified tax preparer. If you anticipate tax problems this year — if you are going to owe the IRS more than you can pay — then it will also behoove you to identify an experienced tax attorney who can represent your interests before the IRS.

California Tax News

Today the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced that it is now accepting 2011 state tax returns.

California is falling in line with the federal government as far as the 2012 filing deadline. You must have your tax return postmarked no later than Tuesday, April 17th for it to be considered timely.  The standard filing deadline is April 15th, but that falls on a Sunday this year. And Monday, April 16th is Emancipation Day, A District of Columbia holiday, which has the same effect as a national holiday when it comes to tax deadlines.  But even though the April filing deadline is the 17th, the extension deadline will still be October 15th for federal tax returns.

  • The top individual tax rate in California decreased from 9.55 percent to 9.3 percent.
  • The standard deduction increased from $3,670 to 3,769 (increase from $7,340 to $7,538 for joint filers)
  • The dependent exemption credit increased from $99 to $315 per dependent (personal exemption increased from $99 to $102 and from $198 to $204 for joint or surviving spouses)
  • Child and dependent care expense credit is worth up to $1,125 for those who qualify

Extension on CA State Taxes Ends October 17th

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) issued a news release on Friday reminding Californians of the extended tax return deadline and also siting some interesting statistics.

Like the IRS, the California tax authority does cut some slack for procrastinators. And like the IRS automatic extension, the California version also comes to an end on October 17th. Sometimes the tax relief most needed is just some more time. The FTB tries to make it as convenient as possible to both file and pay your state taxes.

Filing CA Taxes

  • ReadyReturns (partially completed returns just waiting for the taxpayer to complete online)
  • CalFile free e-file program
  • other free or fee-based e-file services listed on FTB’s website
  • view wage & income information online with MyFTB Account

Paying CA Taxes

And now for the statistics. This year over 1.5 million Californians requested an automatic extension and will have to file by the October 17th deadline. This actually eases the burden on the state in April by spreading out the work a little more evenly throughout the year. By now California taxpayers have filed more than 14.7 million personal income tax returns of which 11.7 million were e-filed. Also, the state has issued 9.5 million refunds totaling $8.1 billion.