AMT and Filing Season 2008: Q&A
Updated Feb. 15, 2008
Feb. 11 has now passed. Is the IRS processing the five forms affected by the AMT legislation?
Yes. The IRS began processing returns including the five forms on Feb. 11, as scheduled. The late start date for processing the five forms allowed the IRS enough time to update and test its systems to accommodate late changes to the AMT law without major disruptions to other operations related to the tax season. IRS News Release 2008-19 has more details.
IRS began processing all other tax returns as normal starting in January.Who has been affected by the delays related to late passage of the Alternative Minimum Tax in December?
More than 13 million taxpayers use any of the five specific forms affected by the AMT law:
Form 8863, Education Credits
Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits
Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit
Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit
What about taxpayers who don’t use those five forms?
No delays were expected for 125 million other taxpayers. For the vast majority of taxpayers, the filing season started on time in January.
What is the best way to file returns that include any of the five affected forms?
Filing electronically is the best option for everyone, including people impacted by the AMT changes. Filing electronically will get people their refunds faster, and e-file greatly reduces the chances for making an error on the AMT and other tax issues. E-file with direct deposit gets refunds in as little as 10 days. Refunds from paper returns typically take four to six weeks.
Will my tax software reflect the late AMT changes?
Yes. But taxpayers filing electronically should make sure to update their tax software in order to get the latest AMT updates.
Where do I get paper copies of the five new forms?
Taxpayers may download the forms from this Web site, IRS.gov, visit a local forms outlet (many post offices, banks, copy centers, etc. stock tax forms) or call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 and request that the forms be mailed to them as soon as they are available. The quickest way to get a paper form is to download it from IRS.gov.
So I’m one of those who couldn’t file my return until Feb. 11. Do I get more time to file?
The tax deadline set by law remains April 15. However, anyone who needs more time to file can get an automatic six-month extension by filing Form 4868. If you owe additional tax, keep in mind that extra time to file does not mean extra time to pay.
Why was the IRS unable to process the five forms until February?
These five forms required system reprogramming in order to reflect the late AMT "patch" enacted by Congress. The IRS needed to reprogram and test its processing systems so that all were up to date and reflected current AMT law.
Earlier, I heard there were 12 AMT-related forms that would be affected by the processing delay. What happened?
Following a review of processing systems and system requirements during the final weeks of 2007, the IRS determined it could handle seven of the 12 new AMT-related forms because they did not require substantial format changes to the underlying systems.
However, the remaining five forms required more significant programming changes to accurately reflect the tax law changes.
Other forms did not face any filing delays. This includes Form 6251, Alternative Minimum Tax – Individuals.
When does the IRS filing season begin?
There are several key dates. Taxpayers begin receiving tax packages in the mail in the first week of January, and this is traditionally regarded as the start of the tax filing season. Other important dates include Jan. 11, the first day e-filed returns are accepted, and Jan. 14, the first day when the IRS begins full operation for tax return processing.