From what I heard yesterday at an update school and this issue paper, the start of tax season may be delayed this year. Congress has not done their job and passed the quick fix of the Alternative Minimum Tax they promised. Until they do, the IRS can't make changes to the computers that process returns. Right now their computers are programed to current code. But if a change is made, then they have to change the program. A process that could take 7 to 10 weeks. Until that is done, no processing of returns.
Last year, there were also last minute changes with some extenders and returns with those items could not be filed until February. The difference this year is AMT. Since there is no way of knowing who will be subject to AMT, all returns may have to be held until the reprogramming can be done and tested.
$1 million- that is what I heard was the cost of last year's delay. This year's delay will cost the IRS at least that, if not more. And that does not take into consideration the economic impact on the taxpayers who count on getting their refund money early and return preparers who depend on income coming in during January.
There is not much I can do to speed up the process in Congress or IRS. But, if the start of tax season is delayed, I will listen to the rants of my clients and send them home with the contact information of their elected officials. And a strong suggestion that they let Congress know exactly who they work for and that we are not at all happy with their work. Job evaluations (elections) are not that far away.