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Education tax credit form, already pushed into February, now causing filer confusion and more delays in processing

Can the 2013 tax-filing season get any more messed up? Apparently so.

It started late (on Jan. 30) because Congress couldn't do its fiscal cliff job in a timely manner.

That meant delays as the Internal Revenue Service had to scramble to update more than two dozen 2012 tax forms and upgrade its computer system to handle them.

Then a form that was OK to file, the Child Tax Credit's Form 8812, caused some confusion among taxpayers, producing delays for the returns to which it was attached.

And now a form for which thousands had to wait until mid-February to file, Form 8863 to claim education tax credits, now is causing more tax trouble.

College students at SMBC, Sydney Australia via Flickr Creative Commons
Students in class courtesy SMBC via Flickr Creative Commons

In an email to tax professionals yesterday (Feb. 20), the IRS said it's seeing mistakes on education tax credit claims that could delay the associated 1040s processing.

The IRS said that the "Yes" or "No" boxes are not checked when required on lines 25 and 26. Those lines are in Part III of Form 8863.

Line 25 deals with how many years of college the student completed before the 2012 tax year.

Line 26 wants to know about possible felony convictions for possession or distribution of a controlled substance.

The answers to each question could affect a taxpayer's eligibility for the American Opportunity education tax credit.

If you're claiming that education tax credit, the IRS -- and your bank account if the credit is helping get you a refund -- would greatly appreciate you double-checking to ensure that you're properly filling in those two lines.

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Samuel Cantrell

Where is my refund

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