Because of Congress' late decision on a "fiscal cliff" resolution, the Internal Revenue Service is scrambling to catch up. As a result, more than 30 tax forms are delayed.
If you use popular forms such as education credit, depreciation and amortization or residential energy credits, you're stuck. You can't file until the IRS completes the forms and approves them for filing, which isn't expected until late February or early March.
For a complete list of forms that are delayed for tax year 2012, click here.
And if you're due a refund, the later you file, the later you'll receive your check from Uncle Sam.
The IRS just began accepting simple 1040s on Wednesday, several weeks later than normal. But that delay won't affect as many people because 1099 and W-2 forms sometimes don't roll in until the end of January.
Speaking of W-2s, you'll see something new this year on yours if you're part of an employee health insurance plan. Box 12 will show the code “DD” and the amount of your health insurance benefits.
Not to worry — you won't be taxed on that amount. It's there to prepare for the new health insurance laws, which formally go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Barbara Anderson, the assistant director at Spring Lake District Library, said the library is devoid of many tax forms it would normally have this time of year, including 1040 instruction books. She said they usually arrive by the end of December.
“People have been calling to see if we have them,” Anderson said. "We had people that go south for the winter come in around Christmastime for their forms, but they just weren't available.”
West Olive resident Cindy Thies said she visited three libraries in search of forms, and still couldn't find what she was looking for.
“It's frustrating,” she said. “I was going to try to get my taxes done.”
Jesse Peterson of Nunica also searched for tax forms at Spring Lake District Library on Friday. His bottom line was more positive.
“I found pretty much everything I needed,” he said. “Except they don't have the booklets for 1040-EZ or 1040.”
Rick Meads, a tax preparer for Taylor & Associates in Grand Haven, said the IRS hasn't set dates for having forms ready.
“The IRS had to rejigger their software to comply with the last-minute tax bill that got passed the first of the year,” he said. “Some laws for 2012 got reworked as far as different exemption amounts and that sort of thing. The IRS wasn't sure what was going to happen with that tax bill, so they couldn't do anything.”
Meads said his firm is proceeding to prepare clients' tax returns, but holding off on filing if a return needs the tardy forms.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.