IRS Begins Accepting Returns Affected by Tax Cuts

February 16, 2011

Starting this week, the IRS will begin accepting individual tax returns that were affected by the December tax cuts. The agency had delayed processing some returns in order to update computer systems to accommodate the last-minute tax law changes.

Starting this week, the Internal Revenue Service will begin accepting individual tax returns that were affected by the December tax cuts. The agency had delayed processing some tax returns in order to update computer systems to accommodate the last-minute tax law changes.

Starting Monday, the IRS starting processing electronically filed and paper tax returns that claim itemized deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, as well as deductions for state and local sales tax, higher education tuition and fees and educator expenses. Tax rules relating to these deductions and other tax laws were extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, which became law on Dec. 17.

The traditional tax season began on time in January for taxpayers who elected to take the standard deduction.

Many major software providers and professional tax preparers have been accepting these returns prior to the Feb. 14 start date, but didn’t actually submit the data to the IRS until after the agency systems began accepting them. Due to the expected increase in tax return volumes being transmitted this week, the IRS warned that some taxpayers may experience a delay in receiving their e-file acknowledgement, which is normally provided within 24 to 48 hours.

“We worked hard to update our systems and get the changes in place as quickly as possible,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience of those impacted by the delay. We urge taxpayers to use e-file with direct deposit, and they can get their refunds within days.”

Individual taxpayers who have an adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less can prepare and file their taxes for free through Free File. “Fillable” tax forms -- online versions of paper tax forms that perform only basic calculations -- are also available online for free, with no income limits.

Business taxpayers who use the 1040 series can file now as well. However, the Feb. 14 start date does not apply to these non-1040 business tax forms that were also affected by the recent tax law changes. The IRS said it soon will announce a specific date when it will begin accepting and processing those business tax forms.