What you need to know about the 2012 tax filing season

By Audrey Williams

January 11, 2013 Updated Jan 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- The tax code can be a tough one to crack for many Americans. One local tax professional says this year is more complex than any she has seen before.

"As it stands right now, there's major confusion with tax payers in reference to is this tax credit, that I took advantage of last year that was slated to expired, did it come back? Did it expire?," said Mary Jo Roberts, the area manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

Lawmakers worked down to the last minute, well, past that last minute, to pass the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The bill that they passed let some of the Bush-era tax cuts expire, but re-instated the child tax credit and others.

Senior Tax Advisor with H&R Block Jane Linman said, "For the teachers out there, they brought back the educator expense, which allows the teachers to take up to $250 off of their income. The college credit, the American Opportunity Credit is back, which is a credit of up to $2,500. They've done some really good things. Most of them were last minute, but we realize it was for the best."

Due to all the changes the IRS has pushed the start of tax season back to January 30, mostly because all of their forms now have to be re-worked.

"Probably by the end of next week we'll have the more common forms in," said Linman.

However, some more complicated forms may not be ready until the end of February or beginning of March. All of these delays don't mean you have to wait to start the filing process.

Roberts said, "If you have your W-2s we can actually file your tax return, you are done. You are going to beat the rush of that January 30 crazy time period."

The later tax start date will mean a delay for those anxiously awaiting a refund.

"Some of those who were used to getting their refunds at the beginning of February won't be getting those until close to the middle of February," said Linman.

Even with all the changes and delays the IRS has not extended the April 15 tax filing deadline.