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What You Need to Know about the 2013 Tax Season

When it comes to tax season, every year is a little different. Laws change, some benefits kick in while others end, and natural disasters can have an impact on your tax return.

The deadline for filing your taxes is April 15, 2013. While this is the normal deadline, there are some important new things you should know for the 2013 tax season.

Tax Season Started Late This Year

The 2013 tax season started about a week later this year due to tax law changes enacted by Congress at the beginning of January. Most people can file their individual income tax returns starting January 30, but you might have to wait until the end of February or March if you’re filing certain forms, including:

  • Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits - PDF)
  • Form 4562 (Depreciation and Amortization - PDF)
  • Form 3800 (General Business Credit - PDF)

The IRS has a complete list of forms it will begin accepting in late February or March.

Tax Relief for Disaster Survivors

The IRS offers tax relief programs to individuals and businesses affected by disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, wildfires, and hurricanes, including last year’s Hurricane Sandy. Tax relief can include some of the following help:

  • Additional time to file your taxes
  • Additional time to pay your taxes
  • Quick tax returns for losses related to disasters

New Process to Apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are issued to people who want to file their taxes but do not have a Social Security Number.

Starting January 1, 2013, important changes were made to the application process, including the following:

  • The IRS will only accept original identification documents such as passports and birth certificates or certified copies from the agency that issued them
  • Notarized copies of documents will not be accepted
  • New Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) will be valid for a period of five years

The IRS offers more information about Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) on its website, including how to apply for one and where to get help.

Scams and Fraud

While tax seasons can vary slightly each year, there’s one thing that rarely changes: scammers are always trying to steal your personal information.

Identity theft is one of the most common types of fraud. It often starts when a scammer sends out an e-mail pretending to be the IRS and asks for your personal information. It’s called phishing and may also occur through other types of electronic communication such as text messages, so be careful.

The IRS does not initiate communications via e-mails and provides these tips to help you protect your personal information. The IRS also explains what you should do if you receive a message supposedly from the IRS on its website.