2012-2013 Tax News and Information

posted Dec 26, 2012, 3:58 PM by Domain Admin   [ updated Jan 9, 2013, 1:22 PM ]

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What to Expect for Refunds in 2013

The IRS issued more than 9 out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days last year. The same results are expected in 2013.

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.

Use Where’s My Refund? to Check the Status of Your Refund.

Where’s My Refund? has a new look for 2013! The tool will include a tracker that displays progress through 3 stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent.

You will get personalized refund information based on the processing of your tax return. The tool will provide an actual refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund. Remember, most refunds will be issued in less than 21 days.

In 2013 you will be able to start checking on the status of your return sooner - within 24 hours after we have received your e-filed return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper return.

Additional Information

IRS Plans Jan. 30 Tax Season Opening For 1040 Filers

IR-2013-2, Jan. 8, 2013

WASHINGTON — 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.

“We have worked hard to open tax season as soon as possible,” IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller said. “This date ensures we have the time we need to update and test our processing systems.”

The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the anticipated Jan. 30 opening date. There is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit.

“The best option for taxpayers is to file electronically,” Miller said.

The opening of the filing season follows passage by Congress of an extensive set of tax changes in ATRA on Jan. 1, 2013, with many affecting tax returns for 2012. While the IRS worked to anticipate the late tax law changes as much as possible, the final law required that the IRS update forms and instructions as well as make critical processing system adjustments before it can begin accepting tax returns.

The IRS originally planned to open electronic filing this year on Jan. 22; more than 80 percent of taxpayers filed electronically last year.

Who Can File Starting Jan. 30?

The IRS anticipates that the vast majority of all taxpayers can file starting Jan. 30, regardless of whether they file electronically or on paper. The IRS will be able to accept tax returns affected by the late Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch as well as the three major “extender” provisions for people claiming the state and local sales tax deduction, higher education tuition and fees deduction and educator expenses deduction.

Who Can’t File Until Later?

There are several forms affected by the late legislation that require more extensive programming and testing of IRS systems. The IRS hopes to begin accepting tax returns including these tax forms between late February and into March; a specific date will be announced in the near future.

The key forms that require more extensive programming changes include Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits), Form 4562 (Depreciation and Amortization) and Form 3800 (General Business Credit). A full listing of the forms that won’t be accepted until later is available on IRS.gov.

As part of this effort, the IRS will be working closely with the tax software industry and tax professional community to minimize delays and ensure as smooth a tax season as possible under the circumstances.

Tax Preparers Must Renew Their PTINs and Those Required to Take the RTRP Test Should Schedule It As Soon As Possible

IR-2012-103, Dec. 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded professional tax return preparers to renew their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) if they plan to prepare returns in 2013. Current PTINs expire Dec. 31, 2012.

Anyone who prepares or helps prepare all or substantially all of a federal tax return, claim for refund or other federal forms for compensation must have a valid PTIN. All enrolled agents also must have a PTIN. Tax professionals can obtain or renew their PTINs at www.irs.gov/ptin.

Preparers who need to take a competency test are encouraged to schedule an appointment while they are renewing their PTIN. The registered tax return preparer (RTRP) test can be scheduled up to six months in advance, depending on the location. Select “next steps and additional requirements” within your online PTIN account to schedule the RTRP test.

The other option available to those required to test is the Special Enrollment Exam which is a three-part test to become an enrolled agent (EA). Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. More information is available at www.irs.gov/taxpros/agents.

The online PTIN system has been substantially upgraded. Those renewing their PTINs can complete the process in about 15 minutes. The renewal fee is $63. Tools are available to assist any preparers who have forgotten their user name, password or email address.

New tax return preparers who are obtaining a first-time PTIN must create an online PTIN account as a first step and then follow directions to obtain a PTIN. Their fee is $64.25.

All preparers are encouraged to ensure entry of accurate information so the IRS can properly determine test requirements. Enrolled agents, certified public accountants and attorneys should carefully enter information about their professional credentials. Preparers who do not prepare any Form 1040 series returns or who are supervised in certain firms must self-certify that they are exempt from the testing requirement. A supervised preparer is one who is employed by a law or accounting firm at least 80 percent owned by attorneys, CPAs or EAs who is supervised by an attorney, CPA or EA who reviews and signs the returns they prepare.

RTRPs and RTRP candidates also must self-certify that they have completed or will complete the required 15 hours of continuing education courses.

The annual registration and renewal requirement is part of the IRS’s ongoing effort to enhance the tax preparer profession and improve services to taxpayers.

Enrolled agents, certified public accountants and attorneys already have passed exams and maintain professional education requirements. Tax return preparers who are not enrolled agents, certified public accountants or attorneys must pass the RTRP test or the Special Enrollment Exam by Dec. 31, 2013.

The IRS recently created the new credential — registered tax return preparer. Individuals in this category must meet the RTRP testing and CE requirements. So far, there are more than 48,000 preparers who have earned RTRP certificates. There also has been an increase in the number of people taking the enrolled agent exam.

Starting Jan. 1, 2014, only registered tax return preparers, enrolled agents, CPAs and attorneys will be authorized to prepare and sign federal individual returns.

There are currently 739,000 tax preparers with 2012 PTINs. Approximately 350,000 of them are subject to the new testing and CE requirements.



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