WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday began mailing 87 million 1985 income tax forms to taxpayers with a special message inside: an apology for last year's delays and computer foul-ups.
In a letter on the front of this year's forms, IRS Commissioner Roscoe Egger Jr. reminded taxpayers to report all of their income and apologized for the computer jam-up that delayed refunds to millions of taxpayers.
"Last year, some of you received your refunds later than usual because of problems that arose or major changes we made to the returns processing system," Egger said in his letter on the cover of the forms.
This year, Egger said, things will be different. "We believe that last year's problems have been resolved."
Millions of refund checks were delayed last year because the IRS switched to a new computer system. More than 25,000 taxpayers still have not received their 1984 refund checks.
As is the tradition, the IRS waited until the day after Christmas to begin mailing 87 million income tax forms for 1985 as well as 9.2 million post cards to fishermen, farmers and businesses, reminding them to see their accountants.
Actually, post offices received the forms weeks ago but were instructed to deliver them after the Christmas mailing rush. Taxpayers will receive the same forms that they filed last year and, for the first time, the post office will send tax packages to forwarding addresses.
Variety of Forms
About 47.6 million Americans will receive the 1040 form, which is used by those who itemize their deductions. An additional 39.4 million people who do not itemize and whose taxable incomes are less than $50,000 will get either the shorter 1040A or the 11-line 1040 EZ, the simplest form.
IRS spokesman Wilson Fadely said that this year's forms are "pretty much" the same as last year's but that the tax rate is slightly lower, adjusted to take account of inflation.