Tax time: Are you ready to file your taxes?

NEW YORK - It's time to start thinking taxes.

Wednesday marks the beginning of tax season, when most Americans can submit their returns to Uncle Sam.

The IRS had originally planned to kick things off on Jan. 22, but the fiscal cliff debate forced the agency to push the official start date back eight days.

Owner of Tax Goddess Business Services Shauna Wekherlien said there are a few changes you'll want to be aware of this year. She said you can no longer write off over the counter drugs like cough syrup unless you have a prescription for your doctor. Also, she said you will not get nearly as much back for adopting a child and if you volunteer, you can no longer write off travel expenses.

Certain taxpayers will still need to wait to file. Tax returns claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit, two popular education credits, won't be processed until mid-February.

This means the roughly three million people who typically file returns claiming these credits before mid-February will likely have to wait longer for refunds this year.

Other filers with more complex returns, including those claiming residential energy credits and general business credits, will need to wait until late February or March for their returns to be processed. The full list of forms being accepted in late February or March can be found on the IRS website.

If you're a victim of identity theft, you may also have to wait for your refund. The IRS has been struggling to keep up with surging tax fraud, and identity theft victims often experienced delays of at least 180 days last tax season, according to the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Otherwise, you can generally expect to receive a refund within three weeks after the IRS receives your return. Last year, more than 110 million taxpayers collected an average refund of $2,803 a piece.

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