Fiscal cliff could lead to tax return delay

HOUSTON - The fiscal cliff may seem like a problem for Washington, but experts said lawmakers' failure to make a deal will affect the average person as well.

Spending cuts and tax hikes will take effect Jan. 1, unless President Barack Obama and Congress can come to an agreement.

Richard Rosso with Clarity Financial said he's bracing his clients for the reality that some 30 million Americans may be paying more taxes in 2013.

"Everybody's going to have more of an impact to their paycheck -- more money coming out," said Rosso.

The delay in a decision could also have an impact your tax return. Lawmakers are late in approving tax exemptions that families count on every year. Until they take action, the Internal Revenue Service can't print the tax forms needed to file taxes.

"It could take six to eight weeks for them to get up and running," said Rosso. "Which means you're going to be postponed regarding your filing."

Experts predict most taxpayers may not be able to file their 2012 tax returns until late March.

Rosso said Democrats and Republicans have agreed to raise payroll taxes by 2 percent on Jan.1. That means if you make $50,000 a year, you'll take home about $1,000 less in 2013 than you did in 2012.

Lawmakers have been late in approving these exemptions every year, but officials said they've never been this late.

Senators and Obama cut short their holiday vacations and returned to Washington in hopes of edging closer to a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff.

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