When Congress and the White House finally reached an agreement on Jan. 1 as to how much “We the People” would be taxed in 2012 and beyond it set in motion a cascade of delays and changes that will affect us all for years to come.
As soon as the bill was signed the IRS announced that the acceptance by them of the first returns would be delayed for 2 weeks as they began the process of reprogramming their computer systems and training their employees. This resulted in millions of citizens that rely on their tax refunds to pay bills, having to wait a bit longer to get their money back. This resulted in additional interest charges being paid on credit cards and other past due balances.
Many farmers that were busy running their business and normally file by March 1 had major issues, as forms needed to file their returns would not be available until after March 1. Interesting problem, your tax return is due by March 1 but the IRS will not accept it until after March 1. When pointed out, the IRS changed the due date for 2012 March 1 filers to April 15. Certainly welcome relief.
But wait, what about Pennsylvania and the other state income tax returns that rely on the Federal Tax information to calculate the tax that is due? This is where Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and the fact that we have an accounting service benefited all of Pennsylvania agriculture. Once PFB presented the facts and the unfair difficulties that Pennsylvania March 1 filers would face without deadline relief, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Revenue changed the deadline to April 15, matching the IRS deadline. Again, welcome relief.
As I write this, 29 commonly used and needed forms are not available meaning taxpayer’s returns that require these forms cannot file. The list changes daily, and as a preparer I certainly hope the IRS does not prematurely release forms, as this could cause greater problems and greater delays in the long run. But I also hope they hurry up. Each day of delay increases the scope of the problem for everyone.
With the March 1 deadline moved out 6 weeks, the next major deadline is the March 15 corporate deadline. Just a few of the forms currently not available affect corporations, and if IRS release dates hold, meeting the deadline should be possible for most corporate taxpayers.Given the government generated delays and the Treasury Department’s onerous regulations faced by preparers, there will be more extensions filed this year than is normally the case. Later filing and fewer preparers can lead to no other result. But of course this is a problem for “We the People” and not those in Washington that caused the problem. Every businessperson knows that management by crisis does not end well for the business. We are all living through what happens when government is managed in this same way.
Editor’s Note: Michael Evanish is the manager of MSC Business Services, a member service of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. MSC Business Services provides Business Analysis, Consulting, Income Tax and Tax Planning, and Payroll Services to businesses throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. For more information call 717 731- 3517.