In IR-2011-4, the IRS announced that e-file was officially open last Friday, January 14, 2011. Most taxpayers will be able to file immediately, however there will be a delayed start to the tax season for some filers due to the late passage of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Tax Relief Act). On December 17, 2010 President Obama signed the Tax Relief Act which extended several provisions that were either expired for 2010 or set to expire at the end of 2010.
Once a bill is signed into law, it takes the IRS about six weeks to make adjustment to the forms and the programming necessary to process tax returns. Accordingly, the IRS has announced in IR-2011-7 that the filing season will be delayed until February 14, 2011 for taxpayers who are affected by provisions extended by the Tax Relief Act. Specifically, affected taxpayers will be those filing the following forms or schedules:
- Taxpayers who itemize deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040
- Taxpayers filing Form 8917 to claim the tuition and fees deduction
- Taxpayers claiming the educator expense deduction on Form 1040 or 1040-A
The Tax Relief Act also extended the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch which raises the AMT exemption amounts for 2011 and 2012. The AMT exemption amount does not index for inflation each year and must be patched with legislation each year to raise the exemption. Congress told the IRS early in late November to plan for an AMT patch so the IRS already incorporated this into the forms and schedules for the 2010 tax year. Thus, there will be no delayed filing season for taxpayers affected solely by the AMT patch.