If you are wondering why there are Lady Libertys dancing on street corners right now, it’s because tax season is under way, but getting a late start this year.

Due to the government taking the country to the very edge of the fiscal cliff, the tax man will now be knocking at your door a little later this year as filing cannot begin until Jan. 30 for most households. The remaining taxpayers will be able to start filing in late February and early March because of the needed changes on the more extensive forms and processing systems.

“We have worked hard to open tax season as soon as possible,” Steven T. Miller, IRS acting commissioner, said. “This date ensures we have the time we need to update and test our processing systems.” Due to the last-minute tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the Internal Revenue Service has been forced on-the-fly to update forms and make changes to its processing systems.

According to information provided by Liberty Tax Service, the IRS is emphasizing that there is no advantage to filing on paper before Jan. 30. They have also reiterated that taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by e-filing their returns. More than 80 percent of taxpayers filed electronically last year. “The best option for taxpayers is to file electronically,” Miller said.

Many South Carolinians have expressed hesitancy in e-filing after millions of taxpayers had their information stolen when, in the fall of 2012, the South Carolina Department of Revenue suffered a massive data breach.

Whenever returns are filed, there will be a delay, also, in processing and refunds being issued, according to the IRS.

However, Mona Martin, operator of several Jackson Hewitt Tax Services offices in the CSRA, said starting early, organizing and having all of your information in hand is the best way to prepare for doing your own taxes or taking them to a professional.

The key forms that require more extensive programming changes include Form 5695 (Residential Energy Credits), Form 4562 (Depreciation and Amortization) and Form 3800 (General Business Credit). For a full listing of forms and when they should be accepted, visit www.IRS.gov.