Important Tax News for Tax Year 2012

Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid LSC Funded

When Can I File My Federal Return?

Each year many taxpayers anxiously await their refunds to help pay crucial bills like utilities and rent.  For tax year 2012, the tax filing season will start on January 30, 2013. 
Where Can I Find Free Tax Preparation?
Most free tax preparation sites will open on or just after this date. Finding a free site is easy. To find a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site you can go to to find an AARP Tax Counseling for the Elderly site you can go to
Where Is My Refund?
To find out the status of your refund, taxpayers should first try the IRS website page “Where’s My Refund?”  located at .   Information about your refund should be available within 24 hours of the IRS receiving your e-filed return or four weeks after receiving a paper return.  Your refund will normally arrive in less than 21 days.  Taxpayers using e-filing and direct deposit will normally receive a refund within two weeks. 

Need health insurance? File your taxes!
A new federal program for middle and low-income households may be available to help you purchase affordable health insurance in 2014. Information from the tax return you file in 2013 will help determine whether you qualify. Enrollment for the health insurance program will start in fall 2013.  Information about how to obtain health care insurance will be available thru

To use the IRS website, you will need:
  • Your social security number
  • Filing status on your tax return; and
  • The exact amount of the refund expected.
The Website will sometimes tell you to call the IRS. This may mean that your return has hit a processing snag.  A snag may be caused by a math error on your return, a wrong address, incorrect banking information, and when your return is selected for an audit. Tax refunds can also be intercepted to pay child support, federal student loans, other federal debts, and tax debts.
My Information Isn’t Showing Up On The IRS Website.  Why?
If the IRS has no information about your return, it is possible that your tax preparer has not e-filed it yet.  A preparer should submit your return as soon as possible, but no later than three days from when he or she has all the necessary information or documentation needed to file. 
For the 2012 tax year, returns claiming certain credits or have certain schedules will not be processed until mid-February thru March. This delay in processing includes returns with education credits and the residential energy credit. 
Your return could have been rejected for e-filing because of an error. Make sure you respond to any calls from your tax preparer.
What Is My Next Step?
 If your information is still not available on the website 3 to 4 days after you completed your tax return for electronic filing, you can always check with your tax preparer to see if there are any problems
My Return Was Rejected From E-Filing. What Do I Do? 
A return can be rejected from e-filing for a number of reasons. Most common errors are errors made entering a taxpayer’s or employer’s name, identification number or address. These errors are normally caught quickly and easy to fix. 
A return can also be rejected when another taxpayer has already filed a return using your dependent’s social security number.  This problem is a fairly common one for separated or divorced parents who both claim the same child.  A parent who believes he or she is entitled to the dependency exemption can mail in the return. The IRS will either process the return or will request more information to decide who should claim the dependent. 
A non-custodial parent will need a release from the custodial parent granting the non-custodial parent the dependency exemption. This release will need to be mailed into the IRS with a signature document (currently a Form 8453) even though the return is e-filed.  The IRS has a release (Form 8332) the custodial parent can sign and give to the non-custodial parent. 
If you are having tax problems, you may be able to get help from Iowa Legal Aid’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). Call Iowa Legal Aid at 1-800-532-1275.
The information in this article was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code. 
Last review 3/8/13
Last Review and Update: Mar 08, 2013

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