PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Hoping to get a tax refund quickly this year?

Forget it.

“Taxpayers who are used to receiving a tax refund in January won’t be receiving anything until the third or fourth week of February,” tax preparer Tish Heiss of Liberty Tax Service told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Just when tax preparation companies like Liberty Tax Service go all out to attract customers, the Internal Revenue Service has just announced a delay in the first day the IRS will accept your tax returns.

“In the past, historically, Jon, it’s been Jan. 8. That’s usually when the IRS is open, ready to receive electronic files,” noted Heiss.

But not this year.

The first day the IRS will accept 2012 tax returns is now Jan. 30.

Heiss, who owns the Liberty Tax Service in Lawrenceville, says that’s not the only delay. Instead of an average wait of eight days from e-filing to get a refund, “the IRS is now delaying refunds, so the delay in refunds will be 21 days from the day of filing.”

That means don’t expect a refund check until late February.

So why is this happening?

“We were told by the IRS late last year that they were switching their processing systems,” added Heiss.

That’s delaying the refunds. What delayed the start of filing returns is Congress waiting until the last minute to resolve the fiscal cliff tax rates. Tax forms for 2012 are still not finalized, and some won’t be until March.

Tax preparers are concerned that the Jan. 30 opening date to file tax returns could be delayed until February. If that happens, there will be an economic impact. Taxpayers who don’t get their refunds don’t have money to spend, and that will impact the economy.

And it’s not over yet. Congress still has new fiscal cliffs ahead.

“I do believe they’ll be an impact on all that,” said Heiss.l

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