BOISE -- On the heels of fiscal cliff legislation, the IRS has pushed back the date it will begin processing tax returns this year by more than a week.
The IRS says the late opening comes after the extensive changes brought about by the American Taxpayer Relief Act passed on January 1, and the delay means refunds will also be later than some early-filers hoped.
Agency officials say they have had to update forms and instructions and make processing changes before they can start accepting returns. Initially, the IRS was set to begin accepting returns on January 22, but now it will start on January 30.
Local tax preparation expert Ginny Wiggins says the IRS estimates 18 million people normally file in January, and most of those will be impacted significantly by this change.
"98 percent of those people that file in January expect a refund, so what happens with the delay is that that huge number of people who are expecting a refund are people who need that money more than most people, so those are going to be the people that are impacted by this delay," H&R Block Office Manager Ginny Wiggins said.
While the IRS will be accepting and processing the forms later, Wiggins says everyone can still file as early as they would like. She says the IRS will just store the filings until the 30th and then begin processing.
Wiggins tells KTVB another change is an extension of the American Opportunity Credit for college students. It will now go until 2017 and offers up to $2,500 dollars in tax credit each year based on tuition.
As for the 2013 season, taxpayers may have already noticed a difference in paycheck amounts as Social Security withholdings have now gone back up by 2%. That came after congress decided not to renew a temporary payroll tax cut.