Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Attention early filers: Taxes delayed for millions

If you're among early tax filers, heads up: Millions of us claiming certain credits -- daycare and tuition among them -- must wait until Feb. 11 to send returns as the IRS scrambles to incorporate late tax-code changes from Congress.

Five forms related to the alternative minimum tax, approved in late December by Congress, are affected. They include tax credits for:

--Child- and dependent-care expenses
--Mortgage interest
--Residential energy use
--First-home purchase in the District of Columbia

The IRS expects up to 4 million taxpayers who typically file early will have to wait. "We regret the inconvenience the delay will mean for millions of early tax filers, especially those expecting a refund," acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff said in a statement.

If you're expecting a return, the delay could mean you won't get it until late February or early March.

If you file any of the five forms before Feb. 11, expect the IRS to reject your return and request it to be refiled. But if you need to speed up your return, here's some advice from various experts:

--Those who claim child care expenses may be able to do an end run by filing Form 1040 vs. 1040A. You also may file returns without credits to get partial returns, then file an amended return later.

--Electronic filing will expedite your return.

--Tax software makers should supply updates to forms. Paper forms sent by the IRS, however, will not include the updates. Get updated forms at www.irs.gov or from an IRS office, post office, library or a tax professional.


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