The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 2, 2013. However, many of the resulting tax law changes apply retroactively to the 2012 tax year. As a result, there are going to be delays in this year's filing season as the IRS works to update and modify affected tax forms to account for the new law changes.
Individual Tax Returns
Filing for individual tax returns technically opened on January 30, 2013. However, only the simplest individual returns are currently eligible for electronic filing. The IRS estimates that it will be late February or early March before all forms are available for filing.
Business Tax Returns
The IRS will not be accepting electronic filing for 2012 business tax returns until all forms and systems are updated for the changes. The IRS has not yet indicated when it will begin accepting electronically filed business tax returns, but delays until late February or early March are expected.
The IRS announcement regarding delays in electronic filing of business tax returns also applies to Form 990, "Exempt Business Income Tax Return." In addition, Form 990-T, "Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return," will be affected. To be clear, Form 990-T is not filed electronically; however, many of the forms needed for completing Form 990-T will not be available until late February or early March.
As a final matter, it should be noted that the IRS has indicated that it will not process paper returns for individual, business, and tax-exempt entities prior to the time that the forms are available for electronic filing.