IRS: About 3-4 million Refunds Will Likely Be Delayed Due to Congress Procrastination

December 27, 2007

Press release from the Internal Revenue Service today on the delay in refunds caused by Congress’s procrastination on passing a patch for AMT:

The Internal Revenue Service 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.”

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 Feb. 11, as the potential starting date for taxpayers to begin submitting the five AMT-related returns affected by the legislation. The February date allows 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 said previously, it will take approximately seven weeks after the AMT patch was approved 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.

In an odd way, it will not affect all of those filing Form 6251, which is the AMT form. People filing other forms, however, will be affected. These changes, according to the IRS, take longer for the IRS to reprogram their computers compared to the mere change in exemption levels. Specifically, here are the forms that could cause delays:

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.


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