Help for HSAs
Tracking the tax form trail

My mother, demanding blog reader

I'm back home, still digging through the e-mail accumulation (literally thousands from my various accounts), catching up on year-end work for clients (payment is paramount) and trying to take care of some personal things (home repair crises seem to come in groups and at the most inconvenient times).

But I did want to get something up on the ol' blog today, primarily because my mother just chastised me for slacking off.

Don't believe me? Here's the transcript of the phone call I just had:

Me: Hi, Mum. I'm home and we got your Christmas gift today. Thanks so much. We love the fruit and cheese assortment.
Oh! It's there already. That's good. It's a terrible gift. I never give the right thing.
Me: It's great, Mum. We really, really love it.
Mum: You're behind on your blog. Are you going to put something up today? I'm checking!
Me: Mother! I have work, real work, too! I'll get to it.

So this one's for my mother. Enjoy!

Continued fallout from Congress' late tax actions: In a letter the week before Congress finally voted on extending tax breaks, the IRS commissioner told the incoming Senate Finance chairman that the tax agency "will make every effort to complete changes to affected systems and minimize delays in processing individual returns and issuing refunds. However, the delay in enacting the extenders will add significant risk to an already high risk filing season."

Frustration_2 That means, in essence, your refund could be a little slower in arriving, especially if you claim one of the just-approved tax breaks (sales tax deduction, tuition and fees and teachers' expenses; click here for my previous blog item on the passage).

But wait, there's more. You'll have more filing work to do, too.

As mentioned a few posts ago, those of us taking the deductions that didn't make it onto the forms because they went to press before Congress acted will have to enter the deductions on lines for other items and use an identifying code for the tax break. That'll be easy for both us and the IRS to keep track of ... NOT!

The IRS recognizes the coming confusion. In a letter to Max Baucus, D-Montana, who will take over the Senate Finance Committee in January, IRS Commissioner Mark Everson wrote:

"In addition to the impact on tax forms and institutions and returns processing systems, other consequences are associated with late enactment. Since the individual tax forms will not reflect the extender provisions, taxpayers may be confused. We anticipate receiving an increased number of phone calls as taxpayers seek clarification. Some may file incorrect returns due to the confusion, which could lead to an increase in the number of amended returns."

What a fun filing season it looks to be! Be sure to thank your Member of Congress the next time you see him or her.

Read all about it: You can read the full text of the letter, which also includes a table of the affected forms and publications, here.


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I'm curious about the tax-software manufacturers. They may well have written two versions, one with amendments and one without, and will mass-produce the one that ended up being approved. But what a pain! Grr.

Hope you enjoyed your trip!

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