Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You Can Start Filing Tax Returns Today

Today the IRS finally starts accepting 2012 individual tax return filings.  It is January 30, 2013.

Why so late? You recall that Congress passed, and the President signed, a tax bill on January 1, 2013. This tax bill was retroactive to 2012. While the IRS tried to anticipate what would be in the bill, to do so exactly is nearly impossible. The IRS in turn separated the tax changes into two categories: those affecting the most people and the balance of the changes. It has programmed those changes with the widest effect, and this first category of taxpayers can begin filing today.

So if you claim state sales tax (because your state does not have an income tax), claim an education deduction or claim schoolteacher expenses, you can begin filing today.

What if you claim depreciation, own and rent a duplex or have a kid in college and claim an education tax credit (rather than a deduction)? You are in the second group and have to wait until late February or March. Your tax preparer can prepare your tax return, but he/she cannot send it to the IRS until then.

Here is the list of tax changes and forms included in the second category, if you wish to labor through them:
  • Form 3800 General Business Credit
  • Form 4136 Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels
  • Form 4562 Depreciation and Amortization (Including Information on Listed Property)
  • Form 5074 Allocation of Individual Income Tax to Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Form 5471 Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations
  • Form 5695 Residential Energy Credits
  • Form 5735 American Samoa Economic Development Credit 
  • Form 5884 Work Opportunity Credit
  • Form 6478 Credit for Alcohol Used as Fuel
  • Form 6765 Credit for Increasing Research Activities
  • Form 8396 Mortgage Interest Credit
  • Form 8582 Passive Activity Loss Limitations
  • Form 8820 Orphan Drug Credit
  • Form 8834 Qualified Plug-in Electric and Electric Vehicle Credit
  • Form 8839 Qualified Adoption Expenses
  • Form 8844 Empowerment Zone and Renewal Community Employment Credit
  • Form 8845 Indian Employment Credit
  • Form 8859 District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit
  • Form 8864 Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Fuels Credit
  • Form 8874 New Markets Credits
  • Form 8900 Qualified Railroad Track Maintenance Credit
  • Form 8903 Domestic Production Activities Deduction
  • Form 8908 Energy Efficient Home Credit
  • Form 8909 Energy Efficient Appliance Credit
  • Form 8910 Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit
  • Form 8911 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit
  • Form 8912 Credit to Holders of Tax Credit Bonds
  • Form 8923 Mine Rescue Team Training Credit
  • Form 8932 Credit for Employer Differential Wage Payments
  • Form 8936 Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit

There is some rhyme or reason to what the IRS is doing. Category two changes require more extensive programming. In addition, those tax attributes tend to appear on more complicated returns. These returns – as a rule of thumb – are prepared later in the filing season or are extended.

1 comment:

  1. Here's the thing that slays me, year after year. Those education credits? Same as last year's, pretty much. Depreciation, passive activity losses... etc. Every tax preparation software company was READY. And we ended up with extensions that the IRS was not ready for, again. Since the brokerage houses have extra time to figure out how to present all the data that was in a computerized file, more people will be waiting to file anyway.

    Do you think they could *possibly* extend the season another week? No, don't think so. How about BE PREPARED just one year? The way they used to be, five and ten years ago?

    I know, I am dreaming. Have a good season!