Liberty Tax Service, a subsidiary of JTH Holding, Inc. (NASDAQ:TAX), alerted consumers today of possible delays in the filing of tax returns due in part to the late Congressional approval of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Many of the changes to tax law affect the forms to be used for 2012 tax returns, and the IRS will need to work at an unprecedented pace in order to get the needed tax forms released to the various tax preparation firms and software companies, as well as to taxpayers. The IRS had previously announced that it would not begin to officially process any tax returns until January 22, which is approximately one week later than has historically been the case. This late start, even if the IRS holds to the January 22 date despite the late-breaking tax changes, could mean delays of federal refunds anywhere from 10-21 days, when compared to prior years. In some cases, the delays for paper tax return filings may exceed those for electronically-filed returns. “Refunds will be delayed until at least February for almost everyone. That is the latest ever since the advent of 'national' electronic filing,” states Liberty Tax CEO, John Hewitt. In addition, approximately 30 states are affected because their tax forms and instructions could not be finalized until the federal issues were resolved. Some states may not release their tax forms until the end of January (including California, Delaware, Mississippi and Vermont), while many other states are expected to release their forms no sooner than the second or third week of January (including Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia). “This has been an epic beginning to tax season 2013,” continues Hewitt. “I’m starting my 44 th tax season looking at the possibility of the worst delays in filing I have ever seen. Fortunately, we have the most experienced management team of any tax preparation company and are ready to navigate these rough waters.” Now more than ever, taxpayers will want to obtain the maximum amount of tax credits and deductions to which they are entitled. At Liberty Tax, a certified tax preparer can help taxpayers make the most of their tax return, and understand the effect of the recent changes. Notwithstanding the likely delays in electronic filing, Liberty Tax's preparers are already ready to help taxpayers be prepared to file as soon as the IRS and states permit filing.