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IRS now accepting all 2012 returns

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The Internal Revenue Service announced March 4 that it has finished updating its tax-processing systems, allowing all remaining individual and business taxpayers to file their 2012 federal income tax returns.

The IRS completed reprogramming and testing of its systems for tax-year 2012, including all remaining updates required by the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) enacted by Congress in January. This final step clears the way for those claiming residential energy credits on Form 5695 and various business tax credits and deductions to file their returns.

The IRS began accepting 2012 returns in phases as it updated various forms and instructions and adjusted its processing systems to reflect the current law.

The agency began accepting most returns filed by individual taxpayers on Jan. 30. Additional returns could be accepted in February.

All remaining returns, affecting in relative terms the smallest group of taxpayers, can now be filed.

With just five weeks to go before this year's April 15 deadline, the IRS reminds taxpayers that the best way to file an accurate return is to e-file, choose direct deposit if expecting a refund, and take advantage of the tax-filing and tax-help resources available on IRS.gov.

People who need more time to finish their returns can easily get an automatic six-month tax-filing extension by going to the Free File link or filing Form 4868.