Don’t Expect Checks Anytime Soon

Anytime federal officials pass a tax law, they make life miserable for the IRS — and taxpayers feel the burden.

Last year, for instance, Congress passed a law to extend something called the “alternative minimum tax.” It’s designed to make sure even the wealthy pay at least some taxes despite their write-offs, but as family incomes have increases, more and more people are being hit by the tax.

The IRS griped about the December vote on  the proposal taxing its antiquated computer system and delaying the start of the 2007 tax-filing season.

Now President Bush and Congress appear to be on the fast track to giving millions of Americans tax rebates this year and the IRS is telling them to expect a wait. Again, the IRS’ technology are part of the problem.

The New York Times reports:

President Bush’s plan to send payments to 117 million households to stimulate the economy would impose major strains on the Internal Revenue Service, delays in answering calls to the agency and require a host of technical rules to determine who ultimately collects the benefits, officials said Thursday.

… The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation warned that the tax-filing season could be disrupted and hinted that it might be June before checks were issued.

IRS computer and other systems “are today fully engaged in processing 2007 tax returns,” the committee said Monday in a report. “As a result, it is not practical to contemplate distributing cash rebates until the peak filing season is completed, which in past years has been the very end of May.”

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