Filing deadlines cannot fall on Saturdays or holidays. Therefore, when Emancipation Day -- a little-known holiday in Washington, D.C. -- is observed on Friday, April 15, the tax deadline will be pushed to the next workday. The extension, however, may be needed for some filers as the filing date for certain deductions will not begin until mid- to late February.
Dianne Burwell, owner of Specialty Accounting in Cartersville, added that most taxpayers preparing to file at this time will see little change, except possibly larger deductions. Increased deductions, a result of the Tax Relief Act of 2010, will include larger child tax credits and earned income.
Those that must wait to file will include Schedule A itemized deductions; tuition and fees deduction; educator expense deduction; and casualties and thefts deduction. The Internal Revenue Service has delayed the filing of these deductions until systems are updated sometime in February.
"The IRS is having to revamp the system due to changes, which will delay certain returns, including itemized deductions," said Lynn Quick, owner of Professional Accounting. "Everything changes once the government enacts a new law"
Other changes occurring this year will be stricter enforcement from the IRS, which will affect both individuals and processing firms.
"The IRS is getting stricter and stricter. They will be strict on contractors and anyone filing as self-employed," Burwell said. "This year taxes will be lengthy for some and we will be verifying everything to protect the customer.
"We're interviewing on an individual basis depending on how they have filed."
Specialty Accounting is asking for filers to bring proof for each deduction they plan to file. The IRS will begin looking closely at not only individual claims but also the preparation service provider.
"They're starting to require preparers to be accountable. I suggest people find a reputable preparer that knows the laws and that they can trust," Quick said.
The delays seen for those with specific deductions may affect when they receive returns, which Quick warns may simply slow the return of money into the economy. Sandy Powell with Ruby and Associates, DBA Fast Tax Services, urges self-preparers not to try and beat the system. The IRS will announce when filings can be made at www.irs.gov.
"If you try to e-file, it will automatically be turned down because the software and systems have not been updated, but if you send it in physically before they tell you to, it will not help. If it's sent in early the IRS will place it on a shelf and it'll be put on the back burner possibly until the end of tax season," Powell said.
Powell provided The Daily Tribune News with a full list of the effected deductions. The filing season has been delayed for taxpayers claiming any of the following:
* Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions
* Form 8917, Tuition and Fees Deduction
* Educator Expense Deduction (Form 1040, line 24; Form 1040 A, line 16)
* Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts
* Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit
Taxpayers filing additional affected forms, listed below, must also wait to file:
* Form 3800, General Business Credit
* Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit
* Form 6478, Alcohol and Cellulosic Biofuel Fuels Credit
* Form 8834, Qualified Plug-In Electric and Electric Vehicle Credit
* Form 8910, Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
* Form 8936 Qualified Plug-In Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit