You Might Face Tax-Filing Delay This Year

In a rush to claim the home owner tax benefits Congress reinstated? Not so fast. The IRS isn’t ready to accept your tax returns.

Congress’s down-to-the-wire fiscal cliff deal on tax changes, which included some goodies for home owners, has put the IRS behind the eight ball. It’s scrambling to create new tax forms and modify old ones to reflect the tax code changes.

So if you’re raring to collect your due (and you’re eligible to), time to get Zen and sit tight.

In case you missed it, Congress resurrected:

So that’s the cool part. Now for the paperwork part.

What Kind of Delays are We Talking About?

The IRS was planning to have the 1040 — the workhorse form pretty much all of us have to fill out — on its website by Jan. 22. But now, it’s going to be Jan. 30. That means you can’t file your return until Jan. 30. It doesn’t matter if you file online or with paper — as far as filing is concerned, the IRS is closed for business until Jan. 30.

Still, that’s just over a week, and the various records you receive from banks, brokerages, and employers might not be ready until the end of January anyway. So it’s not a biggie.

But if you’re claiming the energy credits with Form 5695, you’ll have to wait longer. The IRS doesn’t even know when that form, along with many others, will be available. End of February? Beginning of March? Stay tuned.

Regardless, you should still be able to meet the April 15 deadline.

For now, gather your paperwork, such as proof of any credits you’re entitled to, so when the IRS is ready, you are, too. And check with your tax pro or customer service department of the software you use to make sure they’re up to speed as well.