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when wil the IRS start accepting returns in 2013

  • SO what is this on Turbo tax filing starting Dec 3 mean? You can enter your information and just save it until Jan 3? and wait 21 days until you recieve your refund?
  • You can start entering your info now.  You cannot e-file until the IRS says it's ok to do so (usually in miod January).  The 21 days for refunds is an estimate, but it not guranteed by the IRS.
  • "The 21 days for refunds ..." also starts AFTER the IRS accepts your return - and the IRS has yet to state when that first start date will be, after passage of the 1 Jan tax bill. Thus, NOBODY should be in a hurry to file - you're more likely to delay your refund than speed it up.

UPDATE:  IRS changes date to January 30th for the start date of accepting returns.  Following the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), the Internal Revenue Service announced today it plans to open the 2013 filing season and begin processing individual income tax returns on Jan. 30.


The IRS will begin accepting 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 Jan. 2. The announcement means that the vast majority of tax filers — more than 120 million households — should be able to start filing tax returns starting Jan 30.


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 IRS states that most refunds will be issued within 21 days from the date your return gets accepted.  The IRS is not issuing a Refund Cycle Chart this tax season, also see  What to Expect for Refunds in 2013   

    I always get my W-2 from my employer by the 10th. They Do everything electronic so its very fast. Every year my tax returns have sat on the turbo tax servers till the IRS opens the flood gates and every year within 2 days they are accepted. By the end of January I see my refund in my bank. However, this year is a little different than previous years.

    Last year the IRS accepted returns over a week earlier  If I remember correctly it was around the 13th-15th. This year its the 22nd. This means more stockpiles of returns as more companies get their W-2s out. This also pushes back your expected refund date. The "7-10 day" deposit style is gone and in its place is the "up to 21 day" style. So if your returns are accepted within a few days of the IRS allowing them you will see your refund at the very latest on the 12 of Feb.

    This year no one really knows what will happen. With the fiscal cliff being temporarily resolved, the new anti fraud checks, and the delay in acceptance, there really is no way of knowing when the refunds will actually start pushing. My guess is that it will be about the same as last year meaning you will get it within 10 days of acceptance. The 21 day mark is a good "worst case" to base your refund on. The IRS said they improved their "Where's My Refund" program on their website to allow for quick and more accurate tracking of refunds. So really until we are able to use the new system no one knows at this point how smooth it will be. For me I have 3 dependants under 18 and I still file single and 0 so I have a nice refund at the end of the year. Some call me crazy but its money I dont see anyways. Having the lump sum allows me to pay off bills and other things. An extra week or two wont put me in bankruptcy court or anything but it is nice to be able to start off the year with money in savings ready for emergencies.

    Best thing to do? Dont sweat it untill the 22nd of January as its the very soonest that anything can be done with your returns anyways. Step 1 : Taxes Sent to IRS. Step 2: Accepted. Step 3: Wait on refund. Thats really all you can do and that has not changed any year that I know of. Hope this helps.
      And they tell us that every year if people just read their statement in its entirety. But everybody always stopped at whatever the old Refund Cycle Chart used to say. I never depended on anything, but was glad to get it early. I think it was a good move on their part to take the chart away and make just the statement this year. It doesn't mean anything changed about how soon you will get your refund,  it is just that now everyone is forced into awareness that the IRS wants the 21 days to do its thing if need be. But as I said, they have said it every year, but they shot themselves in the foot when they issued the Refund Chart. They were kind of making a commitment in most people's eyes and it upset them when they didn't get their refund by the stated date, even though the explanation that came with it always said it could take longer.
        While they haven't announced a specific date, it usually is in mid-January.  However, due to budgetary issues such as the "fiscal cliff" that may result in some year end tax legislation, filing returns with some forms (such as Schedule A) may be delayed even later than that time period.
          Exactly. Although once i got my employer's EIN I have been able to use my last check stub to file without having to wait for my W-2 since then. But your point is very valid for most taxpayers... To be sure you don't make any mistakes you need to await the arrival of your W-2's and 1099's, etc as you said Sweetie. Add in the fact that the forms aren't even ready yet for such a huge portion of taxpayers and there is no need to rush to get your return in to the TT servers. Once there, they aren't going any farther until the IRS opens it's gates anyway. So it is much better to keep your return where you can still edit it if need be, even if at this moment you are not one that needs any of the delayed forms. There is still a chance that there will be last minute changes made which could affect you. Once they straighten out everything that expired at the end of 2012 (if they haven't already) then you can let 'er rip. At least we seem to have moved past the fear-inspiring statement made that a large portion of taxpayers may not be able to file until late March or even later. I need my refund pretty bad and if I have to wait until March or April to even file, it would be devastating to me. As it is, January 22nd seems to me to be a blessing considering what could have been.
          • Also, this is posted on the IRS website (Pub 2043):
            "Don’t count on getting your refund by a certain date to make major purchases or pay other financial obligations. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer."
          so nobody knows the exact date they open
          I have already prepared 98% of my return for this year. But according to TurboTax forms 1040, 8863, and Schedule A will not be ready until January 10, 2013. If that is true, then there it would seem that a huge portion of the taxpaying public will not be able to even do their return and send it on to TurboTax to await the 22nd. I know the 1040 will affect a huge portion of taxpayers, the 8863 will affect millions of college students like myself, and Schedule A of course affects everyone who itemizes. I can't say with any certainty how many taxpayers are affected by these 3 forms, but I am sure it is the majority, whether they use Turbotax or not.
          • The issue is that Congress is still considering extending some tax provisions that expired at the end of 2011.  Until they decide, the forms cannot be finalized. Also, W-2's, 1099's etc aren't issued until mid-late January, and you really can't file your return without them. So you're right; it's not just TT users that are affected.

          Filing a tax return before receiving your W-2 form(s) is not only discouraged, it is probably illegal as well.  When you sign your paper return (or e-sign your e-filed return) you are certifying that your return is complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge, under penalty of perjury.  If you paper file you must attach the W-2 to the tax return, if you e-file you must have the W-2 in your possession.


          When you e-file you are certifying under penalty of perjury that the W-2 information came from your W-2 form and not from your paycheck stub.



          [Paraphrased from IRS rules]

          Can you file without having received your W-2?  Yes, but ONLY if you have not received it by January 31, AND you have contacted your employer and attempted to obtain it, AND you still have not received it by February 14, AND THEN you contact the IRS (see the link below), THEN if the IRS is not successful in getting your W-2, you can use form 4852 in place of your W-2.



          Also see this:


          In addition, the IRS will not be receiving e-filed returns until January 22 at the earliest (maybe later depending how long it takes to implement the new laws).


          There is no advantage whatsoever to transmitting your return to TurboTax prior to the date that the IRS starts processing e-filed return, and many disadvantages to doing so.


          • I have seen posts in the past of people speculating that the sooner you get your returns on the TT servers the sooner they send them out to the IRS in their push. I would not know if this is true but I expect that it is not. E-file is quick because the IRS computer processes the return in place of a human. What makes this process fast or slow is really not known but their are alot of guesses out there. At any rate if you file the same as always, have double checked all your info for accuracy, and you dont have a complicated return then it should go as smooth as the IRS will allow it.

            Yes filing your taxes before you get a W-2 is crazy. Any small mistake you make will only delay your return. Waiting another week for the W-2 is much better than waiting another month or more for the refund.

            BTW I did happen to call my Local H&R Block. I was just curious on what they knew about refunds and they tried to scare me into getting into their office ASAP. Saying that forms and processes have change and refunds will be slower. Amazing scare tactics to get people in the door.
          • Last year the IRS has a "start up computer glitch" which "lost" the first batch of returns that were polled from providers servers which included TurboTax, HR Block, and others).

            Those thousands of "early filers" whose returns were affected had their refunds delayed for weeks and in some cases months because of that glitch.

            Personally, I never want to be the first to try the first release of something new, be it a computer, a phone, or a tax system - let someone else find the problems - I will join in after the glitches have been fixed.
          I am in total agreement with the comments about not rushing to be the first to turn in your returns. Especially this year. With everything up in the air, I would expect this year to be the most likely to have glitches to be worked out before returns are processed properly. So I am waiting to file mine a week or two after the first batch goes through. As  far as using your last pay stub, I have been doing taxes since before they had software for the public to use and for e-filing I have always used my last pay stub since I already have the EIN of the employer. I have been accurate 100% of the time, but that is partly because I know when there are differences in what is in box 1 and box 3 and 5 and some other things that you have to know to be accurate. By the time anyone could complain I would have the real W-2 here. So while it may technically not be what the IRS wants, as long as all your numbers are accurate and you don't have any mistakes, I can't see the IRS going through the trouble to pursue a case when everything is totally accurate. They have nothing to gain and by the time they would say anything, I would have W-2s in my records. So I am not worried about filing with my last paystub, and nobody I know of is worried about it either, including H&R Block and other retail tax preparers. Just my opinion and experience, so don't anyone take any offense.
            I also saw an article that said the IRS will not be issuing a Refund Cycle Chart this filing season, but rather is using a guideline (not guaranty) of "within 21 days."  Edited to add link to the following (see bottom section of article):
              Begay - it means you can begin to prepare it now and file it as soon as the IRS begins accepting returns.  After all, as 2012 isn't over, you really don't know all of your income yet.  (For example, you may win the lottery in next week's drawing.)

                You can start entering your information into the online version or desktop version now but you cannot efile your return until the IRS opens up their efile system (that will be sometime in mid-Jan).   There may also be a delay for some taxpayers to file because of the late decisions being made by Congress on the tax laws (ex. anyone who Itemizes & the 250 for Teachers)

                  From IRS, 03 Jan 2013 position:
                  "IRS Statement on Jan. 1 Tax Legislation Passed by Congress

                  The IRS is currently reviewing the details of this week's tax legislation and assessing what impact it will have on this year's filing season. The IRS will soon make available additional information on when taxpayers can start filing 2012 tax returns."




                  • thanks you guys ... all your answers are very helpful! I know that there are some companies out there who file peoples taxes with their last check stubs and get loans etc.. so i dont see any harm if they are all doin it to use your last check stubs, but if you know wut you are doing and sure its accurate enough to file ..but however, whenever, im sure will all get it no matter what but its just a matter of "hurry up and wait"
                  I checked in with TT today and noticed they pushed the Schedule 8812 back to the 17th. It was the 10th. Even still with that push back its well within the time needed to get the initial send off. My employer has already notified me that my W-2 will be ready by the 10th so I have nothing to worry about there.

                  There is always somewhat of a risk when being the first in line but really it can be a throw of the dice. I have never had my return delayed or lost for any reason. Maybe I have been lucky this entire time and this year will be the year I regret it. My returns have always been very simple. 

                  I think where the big tax prep companies are going to make their money this year are the people affraid of issues or delays with the refunds. I would rather wait another week or two than to fork over 15 percent of my refund for their fees. But thats just my opinion.
                    I agree with you. But I have had delays by being in the first group to get turned in. I had to wait over 3 weeks for my return when people that did theirs a week or more after me were all getting their's. But as you say, it is probably a roll of the dice. I just lost two times on the roll. I am just waiting or the 1040, 8863, and Schedule A. I believe that they are still scheduled for the 10th, but I am not sure.
                      I posted this elsewhere, but since it has to do with some of what we have been talking about here, I decided to post it here and see i anyone can answer it. Here it is: "
                      Did anyone notice that some of the forms we were waiting on, all of a sudden were available early without any updates to them? Did anyone notice that forms like the 1040, 8863, and Schedule A that weren't supposed to be ready until the 10th of January, and were marked "Do Not File" in the program are all of a sudden acceptable now a week ahead of time, but no updates were made to them and they weren't part of any of the program updates? It's just like all of a sudden they decided not to worry about them and left lines like line 34 on the 1040 as simply saying "Reserved". In other words, it seems like the issues that were making these forms late have been put off and the forms will be acceptable without the issues that hovered around these forms being addressed. I was waiting for the 10th so that  my 1040, 8863, and Schedule A would be ready and then today I get back into the program and it says I am ready to file and the forms are no longer saying "Do Not File" anymore (except the Schedule A but I got around that). But no changes were made. Does anyone have any information as to what is up with that? Did Congress just decide not to address some of these issues this year so that everyone could start filing? If so, what about the people that were looking for these deductions? For instance, my sister-in-law is a teacher and spends a lot of money on her students and line 34 on the 1040 was where she could deduct up to $250 of supplies she bought with her own money for the students. But the form is being allowed through with that line simply saying "Reserved". So if anyone knows anything about why these forms were suddenly "unlocked" in the program without being updated, please share. Thanks."
                      • The projected dates the the IRS gave in December did not contemplate Congress taking until December 31 to pass the new tax laws.  Jan 1 was a holiday.   The IRS must design and change all of the affected forms, then write the e-file specifications for those forms and transmit that information to vendors like TurboTax.

                        Turbotax then needs to program their software to conform with the new specifications,  THEN, before TurboTax can release the forms to you in an update, TurboTaxes forms must be resubmitted to the IRS for their approval.   Only then can TT issue an update that goes to you.

                        All this takes time and it has only been 4 days since the law was changed.

                        The IRS still indicates that e-file will go online January 22, but there has been speculation that that date could be slipped to mid February because of the testing necessary.

                        Here is a summary of the new tax law.
                      And here is the explanation that this thread was started for: "IRS says the fiscal cliff deal has to be "carefully studied" before it can announce when taxpayers can start filing returns." Here is the link where you can read the explanation that we can all understand: Definitely not the greatest news, but at least now it is taken care of and we just have to wait for a date whereas before any date was subject to change at any moment. The next date that the IRS announces should be set in stone. I hate the AMT, not or its purpose, but for the fact that Congress could never just do what they have finally done and tie it to the rise in cost of living as are Social Security checks.

                      • I thought alot of what was going on with the cliff only affected 2013 going forward. Tax laws for 2012 were already laid down well before the cliff so unless they plan on going back and changing a law that was already in place for the year I dont see how last years returns would be affected. I could be wrong, im no expert but every year I have to wait on a few forms and every year they come down before the IRS opens its gates. Maybe I have the wrong idea?
                      • Much of what passed is for 2013 and on, but many of the provisions are retroactive to the start of 2012.  Many of those are simply extensions of tax laws that would have expired at the end of 2012, but some, like the AMT need to be implemented and tested before processing can start.   Even those taxpayers that are not subject by the AMT must wait because the AMT calculations must be done for every taxpayer to find out which ones ARE subject to it.