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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Those who have been patiently waiting for the government to get its systems ready to file their itemized tax returns are going to love this: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Thursday that anyone affected by last-minute changes to tax laws can start filing their returns on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14).

The IRS had previously asked higher income residents filing itemized deductions on Schedule A and those eligible for specific college tuition and educator expenses tax credits to wait to file, since its processing systems needed to updated after Congress passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 in December.

According to the IRS, 9 million taxpayers claimed one or more of these deductions on returns received by the IRS before Valentine's Day last year.

Of course, those who are looking to get their 2010 tax return out of their hands now can file now if they are using e-file software to process their return.  

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The IRS said many major software providers have announced they will accept these impacted returns immediately, but will wait to electronically submit them to the IRS systems until the updates are completed on Feb. 14. Popular tax software company TurboTax, for example, announced it would do just that earlier this month. Taxpayers using other commercial software should check with their providers for specific instructions.

The IRS also suggested that those using a paid tax preparer check with the agency, which may also hold returns until the updates are complete.

Looking for some tax tips? Find everything you need to know when filing your 2011 returns in our MainStreet Taxes hot topic!