IRS starts taking tax forms
For millions of U.S. taxpayers, tax season started Monday when the Internal Revenue Service started accepting returns delayed by changes to tax laws.
The delay in filing could mean a delay in refunds, said Bruce Hamilton of Hamilton CPA in Janesville.
Late last year, Congress enacted tax changes that extended a number of expiring provisions. In order to accommodate the changes, the IRS needed extra time to update its computer systems, which prompted the delays that primarily affected taxpayers who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A.
It also delayed those filers who claim higher education tuition and fee deductions and educator expense deductions.
Originally, the IRS said those filers would need to wait until the end of February to file their returns. That date, however, was moved up to Monday.
Because of an editing error, an article in Saturday's Gazette incorrectly reported that the IRS would start accepting the tax forms on Saturday, Feb. 12.
The IRS expects to receive more than 140 million individual tax returns this year, with most of those being filed by the annual April deadline. This year, taxpayers have until Monday, April 18, to file their 2010 tax returns because Emancipation Day—a holiday observed in the District of Columbia—falls on Friday, April 15.
While the delay in filing will create problems for time-squeezed tax preparers, it also could affect filers expecting refunds.
According to industry software providers, the IRS will limit the number of returns it accepts each day this week in order to manage its computer system capacity. As a result, some filers could see a delay in return processing and an increase in the time it takes to receive their refunds.
Until the system gets back to normal, Hamilton said it's likely that some filers will experience delays with their refunds.