Since most taxpayers get income-tax refunds each year, most file as early as possible.
But this year, the early birds will have to wait until mid- to late February.
The problem: congressional procrastination.
Lawmakers waited until last month to make last-minute tax-law changes. The Internal Revenue Service said recently those changes will require the agency to "reprogram its processing systems" for a few provisions that were extended in the law enacted in mid-December.
Who will be affected?
First, the IRS said the delays will affect those who "itemize" their deductions on Schedule A. Itemized deductions include such things as charitable donations, mortgage interest, medical expenses and state and local taxes.
About one-third of all taxpayers typically itemize their deductions each year. Nearly two-thirds take the "standard" deduction.
The delay also will hit taxpayers affected by some recently reinstated deductions. "People claiming any of these three items -- involving the state and local sales tax deduction, higher-education tuition and fees deduction and educator-expenses deduction -- as well as those taxpayers who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A will need to wait to file their tax returns until tax processing systems are ready, which the IRS estimates will be in mid- to late February," the IRS said in its recent statement.
The delay affects both taxpayers who file the old-fashioned paper way as well as those who file electronically.
The IRS said it will post updated information on its website (www.irs.gov). This will include an updated copy of Schedule A and updated state and local sales-tax tables.
"Several other forms used by relatively few taxpayers are also affected by the recent changes, and more details are available" on the IRS site.
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman says "the majority of taxpayers will be able to fill out their tax returns and file them as they normally do."
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