taxpayers who file their returns early this year might be disappointed in how
long it takes to get their expected refunds. The Internal Revenue Service says
the processing of around a million returns, along with the issuance of any refund
checks, could be slowed because of tax form complications.
in danger of a delayed IRS
check if you plan to take
the state sales tax, educator
expenses, or tuition and fees
deductions, regardless of
whether you claim just one
or all three. This tax-break
trio was signed into law just
a few weeks ago.
But don't blame just the IRS. Congress played a big part
in creating the problem because it was slow in putting the popular breaks back
on the books. The deductions technically expired at the end of 2005. It took Congress
almost a full year to reinstate them.
That delay is
why you might encounter refund
delays. But the IRS offers
a couple of solutions. Filing
electronically may be
the answer. But for taxpayers
with a penchant for filing
paper forms, follow the instructions
below to sort
out the sales tax or make
While Capitol Hill was wrangling over the renewals, the IRS pushed ahead in readying
2006 tax material. To ensure that the current filing season would start on time,
the IRS had to get forms to the printer in November, about six weeks before the
final tax-break vote.
And since there was no guarantee that
Congress would extend the expired deductions, any mention of them was omitted
from the final form. So now taxpayers and IRS employees alike must deal with "special
instructions" to claim the deductions missing from this year's returns.
IRS expects some filers to make mistakes entering the claims on form lines that
are already designated for other tax breaks.
And in announcing
the makeshift deduction process,
IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson
said, "The recent changes
in the law mean the IRS will
not be able to process a small
percentage of (these) individual
tax returns until early February.
January, the IRS received around 930,000 returns that included claims for at least
one of the three extended tax breaks. The tax agency is estimating it will get,
and have to hold for a few extra weeks, a similar number this year.
One way to bypass this season's form complications
is to use tax software. Most of the products were issued in a preliminary format
months ago, with instructions to periodically check the manufacturers' Web sites
for updated information and forms.