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can't file taxes because IRS forms are not finalized

mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2011 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
So... I can't file my taxes yet because the IRS has not yet finalized some of the forms we use. I wrote to MIT, Cornell and CMU, all of whom want a copy of our tax return by Feb. 15 asking what they'd like us to do about this. I told them that I have the return ready to go but cannot file it yet, and asked if they would like me to just sent that "draft" or a prior year's completed return or what. Cornell wrote back saying they cannot accept a draft and I have to wait until I can file this year's return and then send it to them, and they will not be able to review our son's application for financial aid until they get it. :( I just wrote back asking if there is anything we can do about the fact that we will thus be missing the priority deadline through no fault of our own, but I'm pretty bummed about this. It sounds like they are just going to process those whose parents' tax returns don't require any of the non-finalized forms first.

I don't think there is a date released yet when the IRS promises to have the forms finalized.

Beyond contacting the financial aid offices in question, it doesn't seem that there is really anything we can do about this. Thoughts?
Post edited by mathmomvt on
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Replies to: can't file taxes because IRS forms are not finalized

  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,399Registered User Senior Member
    It's my understanding you can finish your taxes (using tax software or by hand) but that the IRS won't process the return until February 14. Check whatever software you use to see if it's final. You could always finish your taxes, print out a hard copy as if you were going to mail your return and sign a hard copy and still e-file when able.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    I have finished the taxes in the software, but when I try to print out a hard copy as if for filing, the forms that are not finalized print out with "Draft -- Do Not File" all over them, even obscuring some of the entries. :( So I can't really send the forms to the schools like that.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    I probably have to mail my return anyhow (usually we have some reason or another that disqualifies us from e-filing) so if I could get the final forms, I really could file now. If the forms will be finalized for sure on the 14th, I guess I can overnight them in time for the Feb 15th deadline, if that really happens.
  • notrichenoughnotrichenough Posts: 5,403Registered User Senior Member
    On the one hand, it's hard to believe that schools won't deal with this in some way because I bet a very high percentage of families at these schools are itemizing deductions or are affected by one of the other issues.

    On the other hand, everyone is in the same boat, so it probably won't affect you that much.

    Hopefully the IRS gets their act together.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    I would say that everyone is *not* in the same boat because schedule A now prints without the "draft" banner. So it is just some of the more obscure forms that are impacted and will result in us being at the end of the line if the school isn't willing to accept anything other than a completed 2010 return to put us in the queue :(
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,506Super Moderator Senior Member
    You can file your FAFSA & say that your filing status is "will file." Update it to "already filed" once you can file the return. You obviously cannot send the copy of the return until you can file it. I can't believe any aid office expects copies of the return if the IRS isn't allowing them to be filed yet. Call the aid office to make sure.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    FAFSA and Profile are filed with "will file" status.

    I did email all 3 financial aid offices that require tax forms by Feb. 15th. The reply from Cornell was clear that they would not consider his application until we are able to file our taxes. I guess I may need to call and talk to a supervisor depending on what reply I get from my question about not wanting to miss the priority deadline though no fault of our own.

    argh, this process is so stressful!
  • notrichenoughnotrichenough Posts: 5,403Registered User Senior Member
    schedule A now prints without the "draft" banner.
    Are you teacher? (Guessing from your user name).

    If you are affected by the classroom expenses deduction, maybe file without claiming this (it's a small deduction anyway, max $250), and then file an amended return later on to get the deduction.

    If you are filing form 8917 (Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction) I suppose you could take a similar strategy, but $4K is pretty substantial, I'm not sure how not claiming this initially would affect your FA.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    I did consider filing without the relevant deductions and amending later. I wouldn't want to update the FAFSA and Profile until I filed the amended return, however, and that seems like it might be problematic because then the tax form I would submit to the schools in question would not quite match what was on the other forms.

    IF the forms really do get finalized by the 14th, probably overnighting the return (to Cornell, who wants it mailed, not through IDOC) and just submitting to IDOC on the 14th may be the best approach. (Although MIT warns to allow 2 weeks processing time with IDOC...)
  • notrichenoughnotrichenough Posts: 5,403Registered User Senior Member
    I did consider filing without the relevant deductions and amending later. I wouldn't want to update the FAFSA and Profile until I filed the amended return
    IIRC, you have three years to file an amended return. Do you have to update the FAFSA from previous years if you amend your return in a later year? Is that even possible?

    The updated forms are supposed to be out by the end of February, so maybe the strategy would be to file without the deductions and send the schools a copy, then amend a few weeks later, after which you update FAFSA and send the school an updated tax return. Although I've heard it is not a good idea to file an amended return before the original has been processed, the IRS gets confused.

    How much of a difference does it make on the FAFSA if you leave off the deductions?
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    How much of a difference does it make on the FAFSA if you leave off the deductions?

    Honestly I don't know. The change would impact my husband's schedule C self-employment income, which then impacts his SE tax, the deduction for half SE tax, and also one of our schedule A deductions. So... it will impact a few places on the FAFSA and PROFILE that we would have to change things (only to eventually change them back!) I'm not really anxious to start dealing with all that. I'm really hoping that I can get the financial aid offices to accept a draft (possibly along with last year's final forms), which would be more accurate and truthful anyhow than a filed form that I intend to amend.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    By the way, I believe that the only form in question for us now is 8829 Business use of the Home. The H&R block software makes it a pain to figure out which forms are not complete but I printed my return to a PDF and that was the only one now printing with the "draft" message over top of it. I can't find any information online about what might be changing about that form.
  • arabrabarabrab Posts: 4,590Registered User Senior Member
    I really would not go the route of filing a return you know is not correct. Really.

    What I would do is call the financial aid offices back, and ask to speak to the director. The response you got earlier is completely inadequate given that the IRS has published information about the delay.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Posts: 4,100Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks arabrab, that is what makes the most sense to me too. I am hopeful they will allow some reasonable resolution.
  • CountingDownCountingDown Posts: 10,319Registered User Senior Member
    I agree with calling back: the person who answers the phone may not realize the IRS has technical delays this year that will not allow people to file until after 2/15. You will not be the last person who calls their office about this! (You might be the first, though, because you sound awfully organized! :) )
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