Ask Andy: Delayed tax returns - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: Delayed tax returns

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By Andy Wise - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - Last minute changes Congress made to the tax code will delay the processing of tax returns for thousands of taxpayers, according to the IRS.

David Williams, director of the agency's Electronic Tax Administration and Refundable Credits, told Action News 5 the changes made to the law at the end of last year's session have forced the IRS to ramp up its computer systems.

"As a result, we've had to take a little extra time to program our systems to handle it," Williams said.

He said the extra programming will force a delay in processing some tax returns as late as mid-February.

Williams said the taxpayers most likely to be affected are:

* THOSE FILING ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS. These would include mortgage interest, charitable donations and medical/dental expenses.

* THOSE CLAIMING THE HIGHER EDUCATION TUITION DEDUCTION. It covers up to $4,000 in college tuition and fees.

* THOSE CLAIMING THE EDUCATOR EXPENSE DEDUCTION. That's a $250 deduction for kindergarten through 12th grade teachers to cover out-of-pocket classroom expenses.

Despite the delay, Williams encouraged taxpayers to go ahead and file their tax returns as soon as possible so tax services and software companies can "stockpile" those returns in anticipation of the updated programming.

He also encouraged taxpayers to take advantage of the IRS's Free File service (http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html?portlet=8).

"You can choose among a number of software programs that will interview you, help you understand and complete the tax return for you, make sure you get all the tax breaks you are eligible for," said Williams, "and the minute the IRS has got its programming done, they'll send your return to us, and we'll get the refund out to you as quickly as possible."

He said the typical turn-around for a refund through Free File is seven to 10 days.

For more information on IRS Free File, click here:  http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=233910,00.html

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