Ahh, love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. What better way to celebrate than by filing your taxes…
No, I don’t seriously expect you to celebrate Valentine’s Day by filing your taxes (unless that’s your thing, then hey, by all means).
Due to late changes in the tax laws at the end of 2010 (the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act Of 2010 enacted Dec. 17), the IRS will be delaying the first day to file taxes for some taxpayers to February 14th, 2011. The IRS needs extra to update some of their systems to accommodate the tax laws.
What does that mean for you?
If your taxes include any of the three following claims then you are affected (straight from www.irs.gov):
- Taxpayers claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A. Itemized deductions include mortgage interest, charitable deductions, medical and dental expenses as well as state and local taxes. In addition, itemized deductions include the state and local general sales tax deduction extended in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 enacted Dec. 17, which primarily benefits people living in areas without state and local income taxes and is claimed on Schedule A, Line 5. Because of late Congressional action to enact tax law changes, anyone who itemizes and files a Schedule A will need to wait to file until mid- to late February.
- Taxpayers claiming the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction. This deduction for parents and students — covering up to $4,000 of tuition and fees paid to a post-secondary institution — is claimed on Form 8917. However, the IRS emphasized that there will be no delays for millions of parents and students who claim other education credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit.
- Taxpayers claiming the Educator Expense Deduction. This deduction is for kindergarten through grade 12 educators with out-of-pocket classroom expenses of up to $250. The educator expense deduction is claimed on Form 1040, Line 23, and Form 1040A, Line 16.
If you are claiming any of the above then the first day you can file your taxes is February 14th. Based on last year’s returns, the IRS estimates that this affects about 9 million taxpayers. All others not affected by these claims can file now.
If this affects you it doesn’t mean you should wait to start on your tax return. By all means get started on it. Make sure you have all of your forms and documentation. You can even complete the return, you just can’t file it until Feb. 14th.
What if you e-file your tax return?
The IRS is actually urging taxpayers and tax preparers to e-file this year. Many tax preparation software companies will accept your return now (check with the company you use to make sure). What they will do is wait until February 14th to send it through to the IRS. Most tax preparers should be doing this as well but you should check with your preparer to confirm.
The IRS has prepared a short video about the delayed tax filing date and who it affects:
Does this affect your return? When do you usually file?