Taxpayers trying to complete their federal returns early may find it taxing this year.
Because of last-minute changes in the new tax laws, some tax forms and publications printed by the federal government will not be available for another week or two, IRS officials say.
Those affected are mainly individuals who do their own returns and who itemize deductions, particularly those involving IRA contributions and home mortgage interest.
The headache, termed "minor" by IRS officials, is probably the least of many to be endured this year, considering that the Tax Reform Act runs some 2,600 pages and that Congress even had to publish another 1,400 pages of explanation to clarify it.
Robert Giannangeli, spokesman for the Los Angeles District IRS office, said, "We are having difficulty because our private contract printers are behind because of changes made as late as Dec. 22 in the new laws and because of typographical errors we had to correct."
He noted that most professional tax preparers are not affected because they use computerized electronic forms or buy forms from private companies that specialize in business and tax forms. In Los Angeles County, 60% of the 3 million taxpayers have professionals prepare their returns. Another 1 million use the short form.
Among the forms that are not yet available are some in the 8500 series, including those dealing with home mortgage interest (8598); IRA contributions (8606), and publications dealing with depreciation, interest expense, charitable contributions and business use of automobiles. Officials said some of the forms not available at IRS offices were included in the tax booklets sent out to taxpayers in late December.
"People should look through those booklets before ordering any forms," Giannangeli said. "They may include the forms not available in IRS offices." He noted that these packets are individualized and contain forms thought to be needed based on the taxpayer's past returns.
IRS offices are expecting many of the forms to be available within the next few days. But to ensure getting one, they suggest individuals place orders by calling the IRS toll free number 1-800-424-FORM.
And for those who cannot sleep until they get the annual chore out of the way, there is always the public library. Giannangeli explained that many branches have on hand the Reproducible Tax Form Book. The book contains samples of all the forms needed, which can be photocopied and used to prepare taxes.