Those who were hoping to get a quick tax return will have to wait until IRS opens tax season Jan. 30.

It will take that long for the Internal Revenue Service to catch up with the January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act.

The IRS announced early this week it will begin processing individual income tax returns Jan. 30, whether filed electronically or with paper returns.

"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 IRS said in a press release.

More than 80 percent of taxpayers filed electronically in 2012.

The IRS said it anticipates the vast majority of taxpayers -- more than 120 million households -- should be able to start filing tax returns Jan. 30.

Tax returns can be filed by those affected by the late Alternative Minimum Tax patch and 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.

The IRS estimates 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.


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Most of those in this group file more-complex tax returns and typically file closer to the April 15 deadline or obtain an extension, according to the IRS.

"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 said it is working with the tax software industry and tax professionals to minimize delays and ensure as smooth a tax season as possible.

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