Eight days. That’s what the fiscal cliff cost us, from a tax preparation point of view.

The IRS will begin processing individual paper and electronic tax returns on Jan. 30, eight days later than the originally scheduled e-filing starting date of Jan. 22.

That will give the agency time to update its forms and processing systems in the wake of tax law changes found in the recently adopted fiscal cliff legislation.

Not everyone will be able to file on Jan. 30, though.

“Because of the need for more extensive form and processing systems changes, many taxpayers will not be able to file returns until February or March,” the Journal of Accountancy’s Alistair Nevius reports. “For example, the IRS says taxpayers who claim residential energy credits or general business credits or who depreciate property will not be able to file starting Jan. 30. However, the IRS in its press release downplays this delay, claiming that most of these taxpayers ‘typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension.’ “

Meanwhile, business tax returns are already being accepted. The IRS’s Modernized eFile system for business returns opened on Jan. 7.

Let the fun begin …

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