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Filing Season Begins On Time For All Except AMT Taxpayers

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

28 December 2007


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on December 27 that the tax season was expected to start on time for everyone except certain taxpayers potentially affected by late enactment of the Alternative Minimum Tax “patch”.

Following extensive work in recent weeks, the IRS expects to be able to begin processing returns for the vast majority of taxpayers in mid-January. However, as many as 13.5 million taxpayers using five forms related to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) legislation will have to wait to file tax returns until the IRS completes the reprogramming of its systems for the new law.

The IRS has targeted February 11 as the potential starting date for taxpayers to begin submitting the five AMT-related returns affected by the legislation.

The February date is designed to allow the IRS enough time to update and test its systems to accommodate the AMT changes without major disruptions to other operations related to the tax season.

As the IRS has previously stated, it will take approximately seven weeks from the approval of the AMT patch to update IRS processing systems completely.

Although as many as 13.5 million taxpayers will not be able to file their returns until Feb. 11, the effect of the delay may be lessened by the fact that under previous filing patterns, only between 3 million to 4 million taxpayers file returns with the five affected forms during these early weeks in the filing season.

“We regret the inconvenience the delay will mean for millions of early tax filers, especially those expecting a refund,” announced Linda Stiff, Acting IRS Commissioner.

She added: “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."

The February delay caused by the AMT patch will affect taxpayers using any of these five forms:

  • Form 8863, Education Credits.
  • Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits.
  • Form 1040A’s 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.

While these five forms require significant additional reprogramming due to the AMT patch, the IRS has been able to reprogram its systems to begin processing seven other AMT-related forms, including Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax – Individuals. Taxpayers filing these seven forms should not experience delays in filing, and the IRS expects to begin processing those returns starting on Jan. 14.

Electronic returns involving those five forms will not be accepted until systems are updated in February; similarly, paper filers should wait to file as well. All other e-file and paper returns will be accepted starting in January.

The IRS has urged affected taxpayers to file electronically in order to reduce wait times for their refunds.


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