Delays expected for some early tax filers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Delays expected for some early tax filers

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January 9, 2008

Albany--If you're looking forward to filing your taxes soon so you can get a fast refund, you may be out of luck.

That's because shortly before the holidays Congress approved a long-expected "patch" for the alternative minimum tax.

The fix came so late in the year that the IRS didn't have time to update all its tax forms to accommodate the change before this year's filing season.

The IRS expects that about 13.5 million taxpayers will be affected by the delay. If you are affected, that means you won't be able to file your return until February 11th.

Those affected by the alternative minimum tax include parents who claim write-offs for paying college tuition or day-care expenses.

The recently approved patch increases the AMT exemption, which is basically a standard deduction for taxpayers hit by the alternative minimum tax.

Because it typically takes 10 days to six weeks to get a refund, that means taxpayers affected by the AMT probably won't get their refunds until late February or March.

"I need that check to pay bills and stuff. We all need our checks," says one taxpayer.

"If you wanted to go ahead and file without the credits then you could do so, and then you could file an amended return when the forms are available," says a tax preparer with H&R Block.

The delay will impact taxpayers filing any of the forms pertaining to education credits, residential energy credits, child and dependent care expenses credits, and mortgage interest credits.

Had Congress not made any changes at all to the AMT, the tax would have knocked out a lot of exemptions, deductions, and credits for many taxpayers.

The AMT was designed to keep wealthy taxpayers from using loopholes to avoid paying taxes. But because it's not regularly updated for inflation, as was the case recently, more middle-class taxpayers were getting hit with the tax.

 

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