Not too soon to file taxes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2011

Local tax and accounting offices are beginning to see an influx of customers as the tax return season begins.

The Internal Revenue Service announced a Thurs., Feb. 14, start date for processing itemized tax returns delayed by last month’s tax law changes; however, most other returns, including those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), education tax credits, child tax credit and other popular tax breaks, can be filed as normal, immediately – and that’s exactly what locals are doing.

Crystal Parker, a tax preparer with Donaldson Tax and Account Services, said business is booming for both the Andalusia and Opp offices.

“The last two days have been the busiest since we started filing returns on Jan. 14,” Parker said. “We’re beginning to see W-2s from several of the larger local companies, which I think is the reason behind the increase in customers.”

The company, who takes customers on a walk-in business, has extended its hours of operation to meet the demand, she said.

“Really, we’ve been swamped,” Parker said.

The same can be said for Opp’s Betty Dorsey, owner of Dorsey Accounting and Services.

“Between now and the middle of February things are really going to be busy everywhere,” Dorsey said. “With the IRS announcement, a lot of people will begin to make preparations to file their itemized returns, too.”

Beginning Feb. 14, the IRS will start processing both paper and e-filed returns claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A, the higher education tuition and fees deduction on Form 8917 and the educator expenses deduction. Based on filings last year, about 9 million tax returns claimed any of these deductions on returns received by the IRS before Feb. 14.

People using e-file for these delayed forms can get a head start because many major software providers have announced they will accept these impacted returns immediately. The software providers will hold onto the returns and then electronically submit them after the IRS systems open on Feb. 14 for the delayed forms.

Taxpayers using commercial software can check with their providers for specific instructions. Those who use a paid tax preparer should check with their preparer, who also may be holding returns until the updates are complete.

For the “do-it-yourself” type, the IRS offers the option of electronic filing, or e-file, of one’s taxes at That website is also available to check the status of a refund.

This year’s tax filing deadline is April 18.