KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Internal Revenue Service says that because of changes to the nation's tax laws, it could be a while until taxpayers receive their refunds.
The IRS says that they will not start accepting tax returns until next Wednesday - and that means delays for millions of taxpayers who are used to getting their refunds in January.
Taxpayer Kim Bemis of Kansas City is one of an estimated 18 million Americans who file their tax returns in January. People who file their returns in January typically receive their refunds before Valentine's Day - but because of congressional delays in dealing with the "fiscal cliff", early filers like Bemis may not see their refunds until St. Patrick's Day.
"Anybody that can get money back would be wanting to get in as soon as possible, to get everything filed and get money back for their family, especially with unemployment," said Bemis. "I think it's very important that you get it filed and get your money back as soon as possible."
Those refunds become even more important when, as government statistics show, January filers receive refunds that are up to 30 percent larger than the $2,700 average federal refund. Gina Wagoner with H&R Block says that they are already preparing tax returns for their clients so they will be the first in line when the IRS begins accepting returns next week.
"What you can do is not wait until January 30 or January 31st," said Wagoner. "Ultimately, the IRS says the tax season hasn't started but it really has. You can come in and get your taxes started now. We can get everything ready."
Fiscal cliff-related tax delays aren't all bad news for early filers, though, as family-friendly tax credits like the Child Tax Credit and Education Credits remain in place and can continue to be claimed on 2012 taxes.