Sign up to receive our free Daily Briefing e-newsletter and get the top news of the day in your inbox. WASHINGTON (AP) — Silena Davis had counted on an early tax refund to pay for getting her teeth fixed.
The Internal Revenue Service is looking hard at delaying the start of its filing season, set to kick off on Jan.
If there is a delay and it extends into mid-February, it would slow nearly 32 million refunds worth a total of about $87 billion, the IRS Oversight Board predicts. The board, an independent advisory group, said in a report to lawmakers last week that it is "gravely concerned about the serious risks" to the filing season if Congress does not make timely changes to the tax. The alternative minimum tax was passed in 1969 and was aimed at about 155 very wealthy families who used deductions to avoid paying any federal income tax. More than 4 million were subject to it in the 2006 tax year, and that could soar to 25 million this year without congressional action. Richard Spires, the deputy IRS commissioner for operations support, said in an interview that the agency is considering not processing all early returns if the AMT issue is not resolved soon.
While most people are not hit by the tax, the IRS lacks a way to distinguish what returns are affected by possible changes in tax law. People who file returns under the current AMT law would have to file an amended return if the law were changed.
The dispute would give the millions of people who wait until the last minute to file their returns yet one more reason to procrastinate. Spires said the agency has postponed printing the AMT form and 11 others affecting smaller tax issues that Congress has promised to deal with but has not. The IRS has done the design work on the new forms after receiving assurances from Democratic and Republican leaders on the taxwriting committees that Congress will enact an AMT fix this year similar to legislation passed last year. H&R Block said 60% of its clients who claim credits using forms affected by pending legislation normally file by the end of February. Aides on the taxwriting committees said they were unaware, at this point, of any suggestions to extend the April 15 filing deadline if the filing season is contracted because of the AMT dilemma. The IRS oversight board, using past agency data, said that if the start of the filing season is pushed back two weeks to Jan.

But, honoring their pledge not to pass legislation that adds to the federal deficit, Democrats voted to increase taxes by $80 billion in other areas, including for investment fund managers. In the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., has floated a proposal to find ways to pay for the tax credits, but not the AMT fix. Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that, without a fix, about half of taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes in the $75,000-$100,000 range will be affected by the AMT this year. Conversation guidelines: USA TODAY welcomes your thoughts, stories and information related to this article. Now, because Congress has dawdled all year on a tax bill, she and millions of other early filers could have to wait extra weeks for refunds that last year averaged $2,291. They include more mistakes by both taxpayers and the IRS and more people failing to pay taxes because of uncertainty about what they owe. Legislation this year has stalled in a dispute between majority Democrats and the White House. Spires also stressed that there would not be any advantage to filing by paper if the IRS is not accepting electronic returns. As Congress was leaving for its Thanksgiving break with no deal in sight, the IRS was going to press with the forms for the 2007 tax year.
But it will take about seven weeks after a bill is passed and signed into law to do the necessary programming and testing before those forms could be presented to the public, Spires said.
A delayed refund could cause hardship for those people in paying holiday bills or addressing other immediate financial problems, according to the company. Paulson said the 25 million returns that could be affected in 2007 would pay on average an additional $2,000 in federal income tax. 9, House Democrats pushed through a one-year "patch" to shield 21 million taxpayers from about $50 billion in higher taxes due to the AMT.
Tax-adverse Republicans voted unanimously against the bill and Bush said he would veto any bill that included a tax increase. Handling a dramatic increase in the number of people facing a high alternative minimum tax could delay refunds by several weeks. At issue is how to handle what could be a dramatic increase in the number of people facing a higher alternative minimum tax.

It was not adjusted for inflation; as a result, over the years it has hit a growing number of middle-income taxpayers. The stumbling block is whether some taxes should rise to offset the cost of correcting the AMT. The bill included an additional $30 billion in tax relief measures such as expanding the child tax credit and extending numerous about-to-expire tax breaks for education costs, small business and military personnel.
There is a quick, easy and secure way to find out exactly where your refund is right now online and on your phone.If you filed your tax return online, you can check on your refund 24 hours after your return was received.
This means if you filed on a Sunday, you’ll need to count 24 hours from the next working day. If you mailed your hard copy return, you can check on your refund four weeks after you mailed it. You may be able to talk to a representative who will look up the status of your refund if at least 21 days have passed since you filed online and six weeks have passed since you mailed your return.
The mobile app and online website have the most up to date information.The website has three stages that your tax return passes through, and you can find out the stage of your refund. If they have sent a letter, you should follow any directions as quickly as possible.If your status is Refund Sent, this means the money has been transferred to your bank or financial institution. If you are receiving a paper check through the mail, it could take a couple of weeks for you to get it.If your refund is changed in any way, it could be because the IRS changed your tax return or because of further information they requested from you.
Some reasons why your refund may take longer to get are because your return:• Has errors • Needs further review • Is incomplete • Has been impacted by fraud or identity theft • Includes Injured Spouse Allocation which may take up to 14 weeksIf you filed an amended return, Where’s My Refund? She is a contributing writer to this and other blogs and also writes email newsletter articles, press releases and web content.
Prior to her writing career, Natalie worked in various fields including real estate, equipment leasing and banking.

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