RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – While this is the first week of tax season, if you’re looking to file for North Carolina- you’re going to have to wait a few weeks longer than usual for it to be processed.

“Right now, we’re only projecting about a month delay,” said Anthony Edwards, assistant secretary for North Carolina’s Department of Revenue.

Edwards said the delay comes after lawmakers approved the state budget late in November.

“That’s about three and a half months later than in previous years when we receive those tax changes,” Edwards said.

The budget brought changes they have to make to forms and electronic systems.

“Every year we have tax law changes and this is not a simple few buttons or few edits to the system,” Edwards said. “It does require a very methodical process over a few months.”

If you do file a federal and state tax return before mid-February, it will still be counted as filed on that date, even though the state return will take longer to process.

In the meantime, NCDOR is testing the required changes to their software, but they do not have an exact date in February when they will start.

“We do not want to do that prematurely because that could create a lot of risk and error on the back end, so we want to make sure we’re thoroughly tested,” Edwards said.

The Department expects the first returns to show up starting in mid to late March.

Edwards said filing tax forms electronically rather than on paper is faster and more secure.