Finally tax time: Last-minute tax code changes push filing dates back

Tax preparers already busy

INDIANAPOLIS - It's tax time, and there were some last-minute changes to the tax code this year.

This is the busiest two weeks of the year for tax preparers like Tonia Stevenson at Jackson Hewitt.

Everyone is getting a later start than usual because of the down-to-the-wire fiscal cliff negotiations.

"Jan. 22 was supposed to be the opening date for the IRS and they pushed it back to the 30th," Stevenson said. "And it made some tax payers upset because they're used to getting their refund earlier."

Those last-minute talks led to last minute changes to tax laws, making it crucial to have up-to-date tax-filing software.

The last-minute deal extended the student loan interest deduction, the credit for child care and the earned income tax credit.

Education credits are still on hold for another week.

"If you have an education credit, then the IRS is not ready to process those until the 15th," Stevenson said.

One big change is affecting taxpayer Billy Kingery in a big way.

Because of the state budget surplus, all Hoosier taxpayers, like Kingery, will get an automatic refund of $111.

"It helped me," he said. "I got some back from the state and didn't have to send them some."

Kingery said it's the first time in about nine years that he's gotten a refund from the state.

More than 80 percent of U.S. taxpayers e-filed their returns last year.

Stevenson recommends e-filing because it's quicker and leaves less room for error and fraud.

"There is a lot of scam going on, so you want to get your social security number in the system before someone steals your social security number and tries to claim under your number," she said.

The average person gets $3,000 back.

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