Don't spend your tax refund just yet

If you're one of the millions affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) temporary fix approved by the House of Representatives last week, you may have to wait to get your refund.

The fix is good for taxpayers, but bad for the Internal Revenue Service. Any form affected by the change won't be ready until February. So for the 3 or 4 million people who usually file in January, they may not get their refunds so early.

Those who file forms with AMT-related items on them won't be able to file until February 11. The forms affected include: Education Credits (8863), Residential Energy Credits (5695), Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A (Schedule 2), Mortgage Interest Credit (8396), DC First-Time Homebuyer Credit (889).

If you know you'll be filing one of those forms, you might as well wait until February. Even if you try to file early, the IRS will likely delay your refund anyway.

While this will be a filing inconvenience, it's still better than the "alternative," which would have hits about 20 million taxpayers with an additional amount of tax.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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