Taxpayers who are claiming an education credit can start filing tax returns on February 14. This was announced by the IRS. The agency previously said that the returns would be delayed until mid-February as it updated the processing systems required to accept Form 8863, which is used to claim Lifetime Learning Credit and American Opportunity Tax Credit.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit gives up to $2,500 per student each year for up to four years of college. The Lifetime Learning Credit gives a maximum of $2,000 per year for education expenses without a limit on the number of years it can be claimed.

The IRS also announced that it will begin processing tax returns claiming property depreciation this Sunday. In a statement, the IRS said that this step will clear the way for majority of taxpayers to start filling tax returns for 2012.

Some taxpayers have more complex returns. They include taxpayers claiming residential energy credits and general business credits. They would have to wait until March to file their tax returns. The full list of forms being accepted during the first week of March can be found on the IRS web site. The filing season for most taxpayers started January 30.

And in an effort to prevent refund fraud, the IRS launched a crackdown on identity thieves last month. It announced that the crackdown has already resulted in the capture of 389 identity theft suspects in 32 states. It also resulted in 734 enforcement actions, including 189 indictments and 109 arrests.

Check cashers were also investigated by the IRS. It said that it is visiting 197 businesses of this nature to ensure that they are not helping identity thieves or in refund fraud. IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller said he hopes that the actions will send the message that the agency is serious about identity theft.

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