Hallelujah! The 2008 tax-filing season will be as usual for the vast majority of us. This is a good thing, really! Especially for folks with simple returns and who are expecting refunds.
Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff announced today that the upcoming tax season is expected to start on time for everyone except certain taxpayers potentially affected by late enactment of the alternative minimum tax "patch."
That means that the IRS will begin processing returns for the vast majority of taxpayers in mid-January as it does every year.
However, up to 13.5 million taxpayers who plan to file five AMT-related forms will have to wait until February to do so. That's how long it will take the IRS to complete reprogramming of its systems for the new law, which was signed by the president on Dec. 26.
The delay will be felt by taxpayers using any of these five forms:
- Form 8863, Education Credits
- Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits
- Schedule 2, Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers
- Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit
- Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Work on these AMT-affected returns is targeted to begin Feb. 11.
As the IRS has said previously, and blogged about most recently here, the agency needs around seven weeks after the AMT changes were made official to completely update its processing systems.
If you must file one of these five forms to complete your 2007 taxes, the IRS says not to send in your return until the Feb. 11 date. It doesn't matter whether you plan to e-file or snail mail paper forms, the IRS will not accept them until all its systems are updated in February.
Other filers, however, should be OK. The IRS has been able to reprogram its systems to begin processing seven other AMT-related forms, and the agency expects to begin processing those and all other non-AMT returns starting on Jan. 14.
"We regret the inconvenience the delay will mean for millions of early tax filers, especially those expecting a refund," said Stiff in the IRS statement. "We've taken extraordinary steps to figure out a way that we can start the filing season on time for most taxpayers, including some using AMT-related forms. Our goal has always been to make sure we can accurately process tax returns while getting refunds to taxpayers as quickly as possible."