1. I've heard that I can't file my tax return until Feb. 11. Why not?
Answer: Most taxpayers can go ahead and file now with no delays. However, due to late legislation, the IRS is having to reprogram its computers to process forms related to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Tax returns claiming Education Credits, Residential Energy Credits, the Mortgage Interest Credit or the Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses (using Form 1040A, Schedule 2) will not be processed until Feb. 11, 2008.
2. If I claim the child care expense credit using the long form, will my return be delayed?
Answer: No. Using Form 1040 with Form 2441 to claim the Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses should not cause a processing delay. Only those who claim it using Form 1040A, Schedule 2, will have to wait until Feb. 11 to file.
3. You mentioned a delay due to claiming mortgage interest -- does that affect people who deduct mortgage interest expenses?
Answer: No. The mortgage interest deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A, is not affected by the changes in the AMT laws. The form that is affected is Form 8396 and is only used by people issued a mortgage credit certificate by a state or local government unit or agency.
4. If I go ahead and file now and my return includes one of the AMT-related forms, what will happen?
Answer: If you file your return electronically, you will be notified that the return can't be processed and that you should file again on Feb. 11. If you file a paper return now, the IRS will hold it for processing until Feb. 11.
5. Is there any advantage to e-filing my return on Feb. 11 rather than filing on paper?
Answer: Absolutely. For returns affected by the AMT, the IRS strongly encourages e-filing to speed up the refund. Taxpayers using e-file and direct deposit can usually get their refund within 10 days. Its' the easy, fast and safe way to file. And don't forget that filers whose 2007 income was $54,000 or less can e-file free at IRS.gov through the Free File program.
6. Where can I get more information about the filing delays and who is affected?
Answer: Visit www.irs.gov or call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040.