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IRS to e-filers: Slow down!

As planned, the IRS on Monday, Feb. 14, began accepting tax returns that had been delayed while the agency got its computer system up to speed with tax law changes enacted in December.

Now, however, the IRS is asking for one more favor from e-filers. Slow down!

Slow_highway warning
The Council for Electronic Revenue Communication Advancement (CERCA), the association founded 15 years ago at IRS request to deal with the electronic filing of tax returns, says that although the IRS is now processing delayed returns -- primarily ones that include Schedule A itemized deductions -- there will be some continued delays in return and refund processing.

To help alleviate these continuing processing issues, the IRS would really, really appreciate it if "private sector transmitters of e-filed returns" (in plain English, that's tax preparers who've been holding onto the returns in anticipation of IRS filing acceptance) would stagger their submission of returns over the course of this week.

Uh, sorry IRS. Your request is probably too late. I've already heard from lots of tax pros who spent Monday punching "enter" on their computer keyboards,happlily sending along the ready-to-go returns that had stacked up in their offices.

In a statement, CERCA implicitly acknowledged that the IRS request for e-filers to wait a bit longer is probably for naught. So the agency will take care of things on its own:

Due to the high volume of backlogged IRS returns beginning to be processed this week, the agency is limiting the number of returns it will accept daily to manage their systems capacity and to ensure successful filings of all returns.

Question to tax pros (and individuals who are this week finally e-filing), have you have any e-file attempts rejected?

Slowing refunds, too: This delayed filing rush also is expected to produce a back-up on the other end of the process.

Specifically, notes CERCA, "taxpayers may experience delays in their return processing and in the time it takes to receive their federal tax refunds."

That situation will surely have more folks checking the IRS smartphone refund app.

I'm doing my part. I'm not going to work on, much less file, my personal tax return until sometime in March ... or maybe April ... or perhaps between April 18 and Oct. 17. (The usual extension deadline of 10/15 falls on a Saturday this year, pushing the due day to the next Monday.)

As for all y'all who are e-filing this week, here's hoping that the backlog works itself out sooner than expected and that you'll soon have your refunds in hand.

A few more delays: OK, individual returns now are being processed, albeit slowly.

But the IRS has announced that some business tax returns containing "certain business-related forms" would still be delayed "until further notice."

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Mary OKeeffe

Our VITA site has not gotten any actual IRS rejects. However, a bunch of our returns that have been submitted are in some sort of "limbo" state. Normally, if I submit returns prior to midnight, I see acceptances the next morning. Monday night submits came through on Wednesday. Tuesday night and Wednesday night submits are still in a limbo status.

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