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Early Filers to Experience Delay in Tax Returns

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Early birds looking to get a jump start on filing taxes for the year have a hold up from Uncle Sam.

All eyes were on Washington as Congress and the White House attempted to work together to reach a fiscal cliff deal as America welcomed a new year. Law makers eventually reached a compromise, but not before the January 1 deadline.

Congress was mostly discussing tax changes for 2013 during the fiscal cliff debate, but some issues also impacted the 2012 tax season. The proximity of those changes to the start of the tax filing season is where the problem lies.

Rhonda Andrews with Terry, Lockridge & Dunn in Cedar Rapids said once congress passed the law, the IRS had to adopt new forms to recognize the changes.

"It was entirely the wrangling of the legislature that has led to the delay for the IRS," Andrews said. "They are working at an unprecedented pace to get the forms done."

Tax software companies also need to adjust their programs in association with the tax changes. Congress's last minute decision is causing a frenzy in the tax world. Many tax companies are waiting for the forms and software to get updated, so they can continue their work.

"It's horribly frustrating; it's taking our busy season and compacting it into an even shorter time frame," Andrews said. "It just means a little bit longer hours, but we're ready for it."

There's just a few weeks until the normal tax season shifts into full gear. Because of the hold up, early tax filers will have to wait on their refunds.

"The average person is looking at getting their tax refunds about ten to twenty days later than planned," Andrews said.

Andrews added that if you're an early filer and someone who gets your taxes done by a professional, you should still bring in your documents like you typically do. That will allow companies to get prepared to start the tax process as soon as the new forms are ready.

Tax representatives said people who file taxes later in the season shouldn't notice a delay in any returns.

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