Congressional Delay Means Lag in Tax Refund for Millions

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Millions of early tax filers won't be getting their refunds as quickly as they had hoped.

The IRS says more than three million people will have to wait until February to get their refunds because of Congress' late fix to the alternative minimum tax.

Congress put a one-year freeze on growth of the alternative minimum tax last week, shielding many middle- and upper-middle income taxpayers from first exposure to the tax.

Congress' late action, however, means the Internal Revenue Service will not be able to start processing five AMT-related forms until February, delaying potential refunds for those people until that month.

Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff says her agency regrets "the inconvenience the delay will mean" for millions of early tax filers."

As many as 13.5 million people will have to wait until February 11 to start filing with the five AMT-related forms.

The IRS says filing patterns show only between 3 million to 4 million of
those people file during the early tax season anyway.