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      Delayed by the fiscal cliff, tax season is now underway

      Tax season is officially here; Wednesday marked the first day most Americans were eligible to begin filing their taxes with the Internal Revenue Service.

      Sue Von Zwehl, a master tax advisor with H & R Block in Syracuse, says that the stalled fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington have delayed tax season.

      Von Zwehl says the delay is actually good news for some tax payers because many tax credits that were set to expire in 2011 have been extended.

      "These are great changes. We now have the full tax credit again, a full $1,000 per child, plus the American Opportunity for Credit for Children in College, which is back in force until 2017," she says.

      To save yourself even more money on your taxes this year, Von Zwehl says taxpayers need to make sure they take advantage of all the deductions they qualify for. Those include dependent care credit, IRA contributions, and business deductions such as office and travel expenses that Von Zwehl says are often overlooked.

      "Keep expense receipts everywhere you go. That way if you take a deduction and it is questioned, at least you have documentation to back it up," Von Zwehl says.

      Finally, because the tax filing date is slightly delayed, Von Zwehl says tax filers should expect to receive their returns a little later than usual this year.