Winter-homeThe grandfather of taxes has said it: “I’m starting my 44th tax season looking at the worst delays in filing I have ever seen.”

John Hewitt, who has been in this business longer than I’ve been on this planet, is warning his customers to brace themselves for the wait.

This is by far one of the craziest tax seasons ever.

And it’s hitting Americans hard. There will be no refunds in January, which is when the majority of filers get their refund money. And many use that very money to pay overdue bills or purchase major items on their last leg. There’s only so much duct tape can do.

Then there’s the lower paychecks (wow – they can actually get lower) due to Congress and Obama allowing the Social Security Payroll Tax Holiday expire. Many of you have already gotten that first paycheck of 2013 reflecting the 6.4% Social Security return. I’m willing to bet the lesser amount did not go unnoticed either. Ouch!

Between the lack of refund money available to spend and less money in our paychecks to spend, January is going to be a tight month for Americans. The economy will take a nasty hit in January along with us.

The IRS says the first refund will go out late February. As a little warning, you might want to buckle down (one more notch tighter – you can do it) for February as well.

To end on a positive note, you can still get your taxes prepared (using your W2!) and find out what’s coming to you. When the ground starts to thaw and the trees begin to bud, you might just find some money in your mailbox!