The IRS will delay processing tax returns for individual filers until January 30 thanks to the last-minute fiscal deal in Congress.
The Internal Revenue Service hoped to open the tax season on Jan. 22, but was forced to hold off until the end of the month, the IRS said in a statement Tuesday. Business credits and other non-individual filers will need to wait until February or March while the IRS updates forms.
"We have worked hard to open tax season as soon as possible," said Steven Miller, acting IRS commissioner, in a statement. This date ensures we have the time we need to update and test our processing systems."
The delay will unfortunately hurt those who need their returns the most, since low-income households are usually among the earliest filers, Businessweek said.
"[Tax returns are] a lifeline for these individuals and families," executive director of the Tax Institute at H&R Block Kathy Pickering told Businessweek. "January is going to be a pretty thin month for a lot of people."
Low-income families often rely on tax refunds to cover holiday bills and end of year expenses. According to the IRS, the average individual refund in 2012 was about $2,700.
Still, the delay is not as bad as it could have been: according to CNN Money, had Congress not acted to permanently patch the Alternative Minimum Tax as part of the New Years Day cliff deal, 100 million taxpayers would have been forced to wait until late March to file returns and receive any refunds.